Successes and Failures in Health Market System Interventions: Learnings from PSP4H in Kenya

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The Private Sector Innovation Programme for Health (PSP4H) just released a landmark report documenting aspects of implementing market systems interventions in healthcare that worked, or – equally important – did not work.

Check out the report at

As a research programme, PSP4H has the luxury of documenting failures as well as successes without jeopardizing the programme’s credibility as an implementer. This is particularly important in emerging healthcare market areas such as healthcare finance and mobile/e-health where evidence is scant.

This report adds to the thin body of literature on what works and what doesn't in actual market systems intervention activities - as opposed to manicured 'success stories' and well-spun case studies which are commonplace. Learning from failure is a powerful tool.

UKAid-funded PSP4H explores the markets in which poor people access healthcare through for-profit providers, using an M4P/market systems lens.

Group member comments are welcome!!

05 May 2016, 6:10 a.m.

Ron Ashkin

Hi Kabir. Fortunately with Pharmnet we did not have to do any 'convincing' as the concept is owned by the Kenya Pharmaceutical Assocation (KPA), whose members run about 90% of the licensed community pharmacies in Kenya, and they already recognized the problem of being crowded out by unlicensed drug sellers and substandard medicines. KPA is essentially a clinical association and we facilitated putting together the business model for Pharmnet (franchise model, consumer branding, pooled procurement, quality assurance, etc.), a market-based solution which was originally beyond their existing capacity.

03 May 2016, 1:21 p.m.

Kabir Bamidele Lawal

Ron, great report. How easy/difficult was it to convince pharmacies to pay to join the Pharmnet network? I believe it was a new intervention that was new to them. At SuNMaP in Nigeria, something was tried to pool medicine vendors procurements but it wasn't not as successful. Do you think the education levels of the key people in the pharmacies played a part? Also what impact do you think trust amongst members of Pharmnet played in its success?

07 Apr 2016, 11:49 a.m.

Jessica Rust-Smith

I'm a huge advocate of learning from failure - it is not easy to do - so well done!