Using technology to provide universal healthcare to those in need

Interview with Chuck Slaughter, founder of Living Goods

15 Feb 2018
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As the world's largest wealth manager, we work closely together with social entrepreneurs to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An example of this focus on collaboration is The Collaborative hosted by UBS. An initiative of our Global UHNW Philanthropy Center and the UBS Optimus Foundation, this partnership aims to encourage collaboration by bringing our clients together to focus on bringing scale to philanthropy. One example of how The Collaborative hosted by UBS is working to address social challenges is in the field of universal access to healthcare. Last Mile Health, Living Goods, a group of six private philanthropists, and our philanthropic client base will support use of mobile technology to target SDG 3 (good health and well-being) to provide basic healthcare access to more than 34 million people across Africa. Chuck Slaughter is the founder of Living Goods.

Why did Living Goods and Last Mile Health decide to partner?

Living Goods and Last Mile Health share a common vision to leverage mobile technology to transform community health on a game-changing scale. But we are also complementary leaders. I have experience in building successful businesses from scratch – Raj Panjabi, co-founder and CEO of Last Mile Health, is an MD and adept at partnering with governments. My business is strong in East Africa, while Raj has had success in West Africa. Both firms share the same core methods, but we employ multiple approaches to managing and scaling networks. Having more than one path to scale increases the odds of achieving national impact in diverse countries, since local policies and economics vary widely.

How can your partnership with The Collaborative hosted by UBS scale up digital community health programs?

We deliberately seek to partner with individuals and organizations that can bring expertise and networks. UBS and its clients can bring compelling private sector know-how and connections, to increase the odds that we deliver success at scale. Our achievements to date have been driven by smart, flexible funding that came mostly from successful entrepreneurs and investors. This unrestricted financing allows Living Goods to test new ideas quickly, and walk away from experiments that are not working.

This interview is part of our World Economic Forum annual white paper 2018.

What types of partnerships are most likely to fill the funding gaps to achieve the SDGs and why?

We need partnerships that bring together the very best practices from both the private and public sectors. From the private sector we need speed, innovation, and accountable performance management. From the public sector we need the reach, policy power, and political will to move the SDG agenda forward. And importantly we need innovative financial partnerships that use financial resources most effectively while deftly minimizing risks. These funding innovations span the range: results-based-financing, impact bonds, insurance, and matching mechanisms.

Read also an interview with David Hertz, founder of Gastromotiva.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from partnering with others?

  • There is no limit to what you can accomplish when you give credit to others. (I find this wisdom applies equally well to marriage and parenting!) 
  • Seek partners who are strong where you are not, and build your collaboration to leverage your comparative strengths. 
  • Bring an open, inquiring mindset to every partnership. You always have something to learn from your partners.

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