02/22/2013 09:00 am ET Updated Apr 24, 2013

Partnering for Health in the Most Remote Parts of the World


Take a side road in a developing country and you will soon experience something strange -- some of the basic necessities we take for granted in the developed parts of the world are often nowhere in sight.

Ironically, most of these necessities -- immunization, contraception, therapeutics, diagnostics --are not recent advances, but are derived from technologies that are usually more than two generations old. It is as though a mysterious finger drew a line on a map and cut out communities living in rural and hinterland areas.

These communities often account for about three-quarters of the population in these countries. If Millennium Development Goals are to be realized, programming needs to become inclusive and service frontiers need to be extended.

This is the challenge World Health Partners aims to address.

Now, more than ever before, the conditions on the ground are fortuitous. A positive spin-off of globalization has made even people in the remotest parts of the world aware of and aspire for services that will dramatically improve their quality of life.

The financial resources that donors and countries devote to resolving these problems are sizable. There is, however, an urgent and imperative need to explore ways to bridge the service delivery divide and make products and services available on a scale that is large enough to change the situation at a fundamental level.

We at World Health Partners believe that such an infrastructure -- what we internally call the service delivery backbone -- is eminently plausible. We have been fortunate to partner with a wide range of health professionals across the globe for this project.

The key to our success is a management structure that facilitates active participation of our partners in a coordinated way so the best of the world can address the needs of others who were not very lucky in the locational lottery. Nor could we proceed with initiatives of such ambitious scope without the help of compassionate and committed funders.

Gopi Gopalakrishnan is the founder and president of World Health Partners.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, in recognition of the latter's Social Entrepreneurs Class of 2013. For more than a decade, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has selected leading models of social innovation from around the world. Today we have 254 from nearly 60 countries, covering renewable energy and sanitation to job training and access to higher education. Follow the Schwab Foundation on Twitter at @schwabfound or nominate a Social Entrepreneur at To see all the post in the series, click here.