The third UN Sustainable Development Goal, Good Health and Wellbeing, highlights the health challenges that face the world, from the reduction of deaths from non-communicable diseases to sexual and reproductive health. This is something that affects every country, no matter how rich or poor. Each community faces its own health challenges – and business has the opportunity to grow through helping people make better choices, access the care they need, and create a healthier society.

One of the clearest examples of Shared Value in action on the South African business landscape is Discovery. The insurer and medical aid has taken the Shared Value imperative to heart, embedding consumer wellbeing into their strategic DNA. The Vitality model, which incentivises Discovery Health members to make good health decisions such as committing to regular exercise and making healthier food choices, has been repeated by health insurers from around the world. It stems from a simple concept – healthy people get sick less often, which means that Discovery has to pay out fewer claims. Other incentives, such as lower movie ticket prices, help to change the way that consumers view their membership fees – less of a grudge purchase, and more as membership of an exclusive club that provides immediate and tangible benefits as well as the ultimate long-term cover. Don’t miss Discovery Health CEO Dr Jonathan Broomberg at the 2020 Africa Shared Value Summit, sharing more of Discovery’s ground-breaking Shared Value projects.

Access to healthcare is a challenge most acutely seen in the developing world. Traditional medical aid cover is the province of the middle and upper classes, priced out of reach of a huge section of the market. Developed by PharmAccess, Safaricom and CarePay Limited, M-TIBA enables people to set aside funds in an e-wallet on their mobile phone specifically for healthcare, including medication. Kenyans can set aside as little as ten Kenyan shillings a month, opening the service to those without significant disposable income. In addition to accruing savings, users can also register for insurance benefits – essentially, low-cost medical aid. This innovative product solution has allowed M-TIBA to tap into a historically underserved part of the population by filling a gap in the market. In 2017, M-TIBA was the recipient of the Loeries Shared Value Gold Award, in recognition of its transformation of how Kenyans are paying for and accessing healthcare.

Part of driving access to healthcare and promoting wellbeing is changing social conditions and educating people about when and how to seek healthcare. For example, for the majority of India’s rural population – 65% – access to healthcare is extremely limited, whether it be access to medication or to properly trained medical professionals, and there is a lack of awareness of even basic health issues. Pharmaceutical and healthcare company Novartis – recognised on the 2017 Fortune Change the World List for its innovative, people-first approach – created the Arogya Parivar (“healthy family”) programme to reach these underserved communities.

The programme focuses on the most prevalent illnesses, from tuberculosis to digestive problems, and offers products that are easy to use and affordable. Local women have been trained as ‘health educators’, helping families learn about diseases and how to recognise symptoms, partnering with local NGOs. Novartis health supervisors liaise with pharmacies and doctors, help villages access preventive care, and act as the Novartis sales force on the ground. In this way, Novartis is simultaneously empowering communities to take ownership of their healthcare and developing a long-term consumer base for their products.

The issue of healthcare is multifaceted, and each business has something to offer in pursuit of the achievement of SDG 3. The wellbeing of employees should be a priority for every level of management, from the office-bound to those working in dangerous enviornments such as mines and factories. Join business leaders from across Africa at the 2020 Africa Shared Value Summit, 4-5 June, to learn more about how your business can rise to the challenge.