Numerous public-health interventions have demonstrated effectiveness in pilots or on a small scale, but have proven challenging to scale up for population-level impact. Avahan, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's HIV prevention program in 6 states of India, confronted the challenge of rapidly scaling up services to reach 300,000 people most at risk of HIV. This meant working in diverse and complex environments with marginalized and largely hidden populations. This case report presents a number of business-management principles that the foundation drew upon to successfully scale up this public-health program: 1) strategy development through market segmentation and complexity analysis, 2) a dynamic and evolving strategy, 3) developing an implementation and management structure to match the strategy, 4) standardization with flexibility, 5) generating demand to balance supply, 6) a customer-centric approach, and 7) data-driven management. Lessons learned from this experience include the crucial role of data in guiding decision-making and strategic and programmatic change; the need for a central body to set strategy; a willingness to change course when experience and data demonstrate the need; and the importance of partnering with program beneficiaries at all stages of program design, operation, evaluation and sustainability. We believe these lessons are applicable to other development programs that seek to foster widespread and sustainable program benefits at scale.
Sgaier, S. K., Ramakrishnan, A., Wadhwani, A., Bhalla, A., Menon, H., Baer, J., & Alexander, A. (2018). Achieving scale rapidly in public health: Applying business management principles to scale up an HIV prevention program in India. Healthcare, 6(3), 210–217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hjdsi.2017.09.002