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on a positive impact

The Domino-Effect of primary health Innovation across Sub-Saharan Africa

ByBen Davies, GCI EMEA Lead, Executive Director

Front line healthcare workers are the center of the delivery of any healthcare system. Each year, our Strategic Innovation for Community Health (STICH) program brings together primary healthcare leaders across Sub-Saharan Africa for a week-long intensive program to learn about business model innovation concepts that can improve community and primary care delivery.

Johnson & Johnson and INSEAD have jointly developed STICH following the believe that every health worker trained and supported helps to build a stronger community, and every enhanced community brings the world one step closer towards achieving good health and well-being for all. Well-trained and well-equipped health workers is a foundational component to strengthening and transforming health systems. The challenges attendees face are similar across all healthcare systems, including access, care quality, and consistency of service. By bringing these leaders together and putting innovation at the forefront, attendees learn how creative approaches, out-of-the-box thinking, and a community-minded approach can help address the challenges they each face.

Thirty five people completed the course from 14 countries this year. This is the 7th year of the program and we continue to be inspired by each of the participants and the changes they make over the course of the week to their mindset, problem-solving skills, innovation capacity, and willingness to challenge the status quo. Most inspiring is the domino-effect participants create – they’re going home and cascading down the knowledge to their colleagues and communities. Not only does this transform the lives of individuals, but it also results in developing their organizations and impacting the broader ecosystem.

Dalal Naeem Mohamed, a medical doctor at a university teaching hospital in Zambia, summarizes his experience in the video below: “Going forward, I’m actually going to use a lot that I’ve learned to implement and fortify the primary healthcare delivery in my community.”

Similarly, Samuel Byiringo, a quality improvement advisor for Partners in Health in Rwanda, says, “it is about driving the change. Because everything that we do about innovation is about having people change their behavior.”

Hear from more of this year’s attendees how their learnings will help transform the lives of people in their communities:


As highlighted by the director of the program Steve Chick, “people in healthcare are passionate about what they do, they’re very bright, and they give it their all.” That’s why it is such a priviledge to work with these healthcare leaders and it is an honor to help create a domino effect of learning that will transform health systems for years to come.

Congratulations to all of this year’s STICH participants – we can’t wait to see what you do next.