Around the world, health-, education- and nutrition-related products and services that can save and improve lives are frequently not within reach of the children and adults who need them the most.
This is often the result of breakdowns in markets and systems. Commodities and services may not be available in low- and middle-income countries due to insufficient supply capacity, inadequate forecasting, inefficient procurement processes and outdated policies. Even when products and services are available in a country, there may be an inconsistent supply where they are needed the most, or they may be priced too high for the intended beneficiaries.
R4D works with change agents to shape systems and markets so that access to essential products and services — such as childhood pneumonia diagnosis and treatments, maternal health supplies, anti-malarial bed nets, HIV/AIDS medicines, nutrition supplements, books and sanitation technologies — is dramatically improved.
R4D achieves this by aligning priorities and incentives of policymakers, procurers, financiers and manufacturers at the global and country levels to develop and execute solutions for underserved markets at scale. Using practical, business-driven approaches — from increasing market transparency to developing purchasing strategies and crafting cost-effectiveness analyses — R4D works with local government officials and others to systemically identify and address holistic market and delivery barriers to secure the sustained availability and affordability of essential products and services.
For example, when access to a lifesaving product is hampered by limited manufacturing capacity due to a lack of market information, R4D works with local health officials and procurement agencies at the local and global levels to develop robust aggregate demand forecasts and share these with manufacturers to increase market transparency, stimulate supply and ultimately drive increased access to the product.
Since 2008, R4D has developed market shaping strategies at the global level and provided on-the-ground catalytic support to local change agents to achieve transformational impact domestically. Some examples include:
- Designing and implementing a program to avert hundreds of thousands of child deaths from pneumonia in high-burden countries via the delivery of roughly 7.5 million treatments in Ethiopia and Tanzania, while shaping the local markets and systems to ensure sustainable access in the future. As part of this work, R4D is also conducting formative research to assess current levels of diagnoses and prescriptions, as well as designing and piloting potential cost-effective interventions to improve the rational use of medicines and the quality of care.
- Developed purchasing strategies for long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets to save the global community up to $630 million over five years, which could in turn be used to purchase an additional 300 million nets.
- Developed recommendations to both address supply- and demand-side inefficiencies and increase the availability of high-quality, affordable maternal health commodities. These recommendations have formed the basis for a series of global- and country-level advocacy briefs developed by PATH and the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition.
- Helped to reshape the Global Fund’s approach to its $7+ billion investments in health products through developing concrete strategies that optimize “value for money.” These led to the Global Fund’s adoption of a market shaping strategy, which experts cited as having the potential to save an initial $500 million, enabling the Global Fund to reach many more patients.