5 Health Organizations Using Social Entrepreneurship

Doctor meets with young patientSocial entrepreneurship utilizes effective business practices combined with social and cultural awareness to change the lives of those in need. There are millions of people in rural and poor communities suffering from a lack of access to proper healthcare. Social ventures go a long way in providing necessary interventions to increase health awareness. The following examples of nonprofit health organizations are making a positive social impact all over the world.

Unite for Sight

Unite for Sight is a global nonprofit organization founded in 2000 by Jenifer Staple-Clark. Through programs in Honduras, India, and Ghana, they have provided high-quality care to over 2.4 million poverty-stricken people and performed over 99,000 surgeries restoring sight to those with vision impairment. By partnering with Ghanaian eye clinics, they have been responsible for the 92 percent increase in cataract surgeries between 2008 and 2009. This organization continues to make a long-lasting impact through training programs that have provided the education and tools for over 9,900 Global Impact Fellows to eradicate preventable blindness in local communities and abroad. Their partnerships with local eye clinics are led by experienced social entrepreneurs who collaborate with community leaders, government bodies, and hospitals to put together outreach teams that bring quality care to those in remote villages and those living in extreme poverty.


In 2000, the international nongovernmental organization BasicNeeds was founded to bring health, socio-economic, and community-related care to people suffering from mental illness or epilepsy and their families throughout the world. Their approach involves working with people who suffer from mental illness, providing medication, and psychosocial support along with the local governments of low and middle-income countries. BasicNeeds is a sustainable venture because it enables existing health professionals and services to care for those suffering through training and forging partnerships with stakeholders. They also encourage patients to join self-help groups and take advantage of opportunities that support long-term recovery. Since they began, BasicNeeds has helped over 686,000 people by fostering mental health programs in multiple countries.

Medic Mobile

Medic Mobile is a nonprofit tech company started by Josh Nesbit in 2009. Through the use of mobile and web tools, they facilitate community health workers, hospitals, and families in providing much-needed quality care to those in need. The organization has made an impact in 23 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America by training and equipping 13,173 health workers with their unique mobile technology, which includes SMS and SIM communication apps along with analytics and data-driven performance analysis for managing health systems. Medic Mobile has substantially reduced maternal and neonatal mortality in poor populations by guiding health workers in antenatal and postnatal care techniques as well as the benefits of family planning. They have improved child health around the world by screening for and treating malnutrition and coordinating immunization efforts. They are also responsible for strengthening community health systems by training health workers, enabling communication, and increasing outbreak surveillance.

Riders for Health

The international nonprofit Riders for Health addresses the problem of the absence of effective transport infrastructure in rural Africa preventing citizens from receiving health services, which is especially deadly for newborns, women post-childbirth, and those suffering from infectious diseases. In 1989, a team that became the Riders began organizing and enabling cars, trucks, and motorcycles to bring health services to rural cities in Gambia, Lesotho, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, and Nigeria. Riders for Health supports the ministries of health and local healthcare organizations in managing fleets of vehicles by providing innovative logistics systems solutions. They can provide greater reliability of service delivery, safe driver/rider training, and preventive maintenance for vehicles. They are also equipped to transport patient samples to health facilities and laboratories as well as to refer patients to hospitals when a higher level of care is necessary.

Feeding India

There are 194.6 million undernourished people in India, making it home to a quarter of all undernourished people on the planet. Feeding India strives to solve this problem by providing poor and vulnerable people with meals by redistributing extra food. The main goals of the organization are to stop the wasting of good food, saving resources that would have been spent on getting rid of wasted food, and keeping India clean by saving nutritious food instead of dumping it in residential garbage dumps. Feeding India practices sustainable solutions by focusing on local food donations, improving nutrition by selecting food based on health needs, closing the gap between the wealthy and poor, and making a point to focus on the nutritional necessities of orphaned children, specially-abled individuals, and old age citizens.

The key to the success of these health organizations based in social entrepreneurship is sustainability. These organizations are doing far more than simply addressing social and health-related issues head-on. By educating and assisting local workers in setting up fully functioning health services, they are enabling long-term solutions to keep communities healthy.

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