Our First Five Years: 2010-2015

Since 2010, CHMI has promoted health market innovations – programs, policies, and practices – that have the potential to improve the quality and affordability of health care for low income populations around the world. Our vision is for health systems around the world to harness innovative models to deliver better quality, more affordable, and accessible care, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.



Five years ago, forward-thinking funders and stakeholders came together to ask one, powerful question:

How can we accelerate the spread of innovative health practices that improve the lives of the poor?

To answer this question, the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) was launched with three main goals: identify health innovations around the world; surface and analyze innovations showing promise; and connect innovators to funders, global innovation challenges and competitions, governments and local resources to help them improve and scale their services.

Continue Reading the Introduction to CHMI at Five

The CHMI approach combines information provision, analysis, research, connections and ‘learning’ activities that promote the improvement and adaptation of promising programs, policies and practices that show promise in providing better and more affordable care to the poor.

This year, as we celebrate our five year anniversary, we wanted to share highlights of what we have accomplished, what we have learned through the years, and where we hope to go next.

Improved access to information on the universe of health innovations

After five years of intensive landscaping we have profiled more than 1,450 health programs, policies and practices from over 130 countries, making the CHMI database the most comprehensive global online repository of information on health innovations. Our online database has been used nearly 1 million times, with over half of the visits coming from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Today, the database has been used in a variety of different ways – to identify programs for funding, to understand the landscape of programmatic options by governments, to connect with like-minded innovators, to spot new trends and promising practices, and as a research tool cited in over 120 publications.

Increased the evidence base to promote learning and collaboration in health innovation

One of the most critical gaps we have sought to address through CHMI is the lack of systematic evidence on health markets and the individual programs operating within them. We have made several investments to increase our understanding about which programs are showing promising results, as well as what implementation challenges programs face. The CHMI Reported Results initiative and CHMI PLUS encourage hundreds of organizations to share their results and impact through CHMI. Increasing transparency about programmatic results promotes an environment of learning and collaboration across our network of innovators. The more programs share, the more CHMI and others can engage with them with targeted support such as evaluation and learning services.

In addition, the CHMI database provides a rich source of data to better understand developments in the growth and diffusion of specific types of business models – e.g., models that improve maternal and child health or increase access to primary care. Today, the CHMI database has been used to develop nearly 40 unique research and analytic products from the CHMI team and our collaborators – ranging from our annual Highlights Reports providing an overview of trends in health innovation, to our partnership with the Global Impact Investing Network to develop standardized health metrics for innovators, to our in-depth research on the role of Informal Providers in Mixed Health Systems.

Collaborated with a network of country-based partners to capitalize on health innovations for national health priorities

A meeting of CHMI and regional partners in Kenya in 2011

Our global network of country-based organizations has facilitated some of CHMI's most exciting activities. This network of partners works to understand the innovations in their country and inform policy and practice about how innovations can be harnessed to improve health services for the poor. CHMI’s partners have developed a number of country-level mechanisms to source and support programs – e.g., competitions, innovation hackathons, and pitch series aimed at fostering country level support to innovations amongst donors, investors and policymakers. Our partners have collaborated with policymakers to promote increased government engagement of private sector providers and created broad-based platforms for key health systems stakeholders that promote alignment around how to capitalize on the innovations in their country. These locally driven efforts have sparked increased momentum around the potential of how health innovations can be supported by governments and others to advance countries’ national health priorities.

Supported the improvement and adaptation of health innovations.

Early on, CHMI recognized the need for user-driven learning opportunities so that programs could work with like-minded peers to co-create solutions to common challenges, adapt promising practices from others, and iterate and experiment with new approaches. The overarching goal was to improve their models and make them more scalable and sustainable. To achieve this, CHMI launched the Learning Exchange and Primary Care Learning Collaborative to help innovators build upon existing models and adapt promising practices. These initiatives have promoted extensive cross-border collaboration resulting in valuable insights and practical recommendations for improvement and adaptation.

The evolution of our work has taught us that there is great potential in connecting promising innovations to governments through policy and financing mechanisms, global collaborators working to improve health systems, and each other with the goal of achieving amplified impact on health markets and promoting the diffusion of “what works” beyond individual programs and contexts.

Programs point to the value of collaborative learning opportunities, and the utility of the lessons learned in the Innovator’s Handbook.

Where we can go in the future…

In early 2015, CHMI underwent a strategic review of its work of the past five years. The process was conducted by an independent evaluator in close collaboration with our funders, UK Aid and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). This strategic review provided us with a valuable opportunity for self-reflection and open discussion about CHMI’s genesis and original objectives, accomplishments, lessons learned, and potential future directions. A key takeaway from the review was that CHMI continues to be a highly relevant platform with important accomplishments over the past five years which can be leveraged to achieve even greater impact in the future. Read our founder Gina Lagomarsino's article on The Five C's of Innovation Ecosystems" to learn how we're applying the lessons of CHMI across the multiple innovation platforms at Results for Development. As our work has evolved continuously since CHMI’s launch, we expect our activities will continue to evolve in the future as we facilitate innovations to improve health markets around the world. In the near-term, our new portfolio of “learning” activities that promote the improvement and adaptation of promising programs are already reaching new communities of innovators and global partners. Stay tuned to learn more!

Programs Database

A Global Platform for Innovations in Health

CHMI provides free access to the world’s most comprehensive database of health market innovations in developing countries, serving as a backbone for in-country activities to catalyze new partnerships and opportunities to take promising innovations to scale. The database launched in July 2010 with an initial set of 600 profiled programs, and has evolved significantly since launch.

Database at a Glance

As of August 2015, CHMI has identified over 1450 programs in more than 130 countries around the world.
To learn more, explore the CHMI Program Database.



in the CHMI Database

Programs by Health Focus


We launched CHMI Plus in early 2015 to increase information about programs’ approaches and monitoring and evaluation practices. With CHMI Plus, it’s easy to search for innovations that share information on their activities, monitoring and evaluation strategies, and evidence of impact, ultimately enhancing our collective understanding about what is producing promising results for the poor.

Programs have achieved CHMI Plus badges:

CHMI Plus Badges

And submitted M&E documents:

CHMI M and E docs
Increasing the Evidence Base

CHMI has produced numerous analytic products, including annual Highlights reports, topical briefs, and academic literature.

Annual Highlights Report

In-Depth Briefings

Produced with the University of Toronto, these briefs investigate new approaches to health market innovations for select priority health areas such as MNCH and TB.

"Databases at a Glance"

CHMI conducts monthly analyses on the 1,450 programs in the database to better understand trends in niche market approaches including social franchising, innovations in Nigeria, and technology in Maternal Newborn and Child Health

Informing the Evolution of Health Markets

CHMI’s academic and research partnerships have resulted in many high-level analyses based on evidence collected from the CHMI database. Research often begins with a review of the programs profiled on CHMI’s database to identify emerging practices and compelling models. The information in the CHMI database has been cited in over 120 academic publications, and has also been used to understand the ecosystem of health market innovations globally.

“The Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI)… was the best single aggregate source of information we found to understand what healthcare delivery innovation existed.”
– Andy Thorton, International Centre for Social Franchising, in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

Connections to Opportunities

Connections facilitated by CHMI have resulted in the creation of partnerships worth millions of dollars and have helped programs improve and expand their services impacting over 1 million people.

Examples of our impact in the past five years include:

Unjani clinics

Scaling Up Services

Unjani Primary Health Care Clinics partnered with VisionSpring to offer Unjani's clients vision screening and affordable reading glasses at Unjani clinics in South Africa. VisionSpring also used CHMI to partner with Vine Pharmacy in Uganda and ERC Eye Care in India.


Vine Pharmacy, Uganda

Raising Capital

After connecting through CHMI in 2013, Abraaj Group made a significant investment in Vine Pharmacy in Uganda through its subsidiary, the Africa Health Fund. The capital enabled the drugstore chain and its wholesale business to expand throughout the country.


Access Afya, Kenya

Adapting Promising Practices

Access Afya, a Nairobi-based primary care chain, developed a mentorship relationship with Afya Research Africa through CHMI. Access Afya benefitted from shared insights into the country's regulatory environment and business practices and adapted elements of the partner's model.


These organizations use CHMI to find promising innovations

CHMI works with competitions and global innovation challenges as a pipeline and a resource to innovators seeking to raise support for their work.


Direct Messages

exchanged between program managers since launch

Rajeev Kumar

The CHMI website is one of the reasons why we are known outside India. We have been receiving inquiries from hospitals and individuals outside India to know more about the ReMeDi telemedicine kit.”
—Rajeev Kumar, cofounder, Neurosynaptic, India

Zack Oloo

CHMI offers one of the best platforms out there for young organizations to get a comprehensive sense of healthcare innovators in emerging markets. CHMI’s network has provided opportunities for my company to get increased visibility to potential partners, investors, and competitions.”
Zack Oloo of Changamka Microhealth Ltd., Kenya

Regional Partners

CHMI works through a global network of country-based organizations. This international network acts as facilitators of key local and regional actors, carrying out the dual role of connecting programs to opportunities and encouraging system-level change. Over the past five years, CHMI has worked with over twenty in-country partners around the globe. CHMI partners initially focused on landscaping and building the database, surfacing new programs, and gaining an in-depth understanding of health innovation activity on the ground.

In subsequent years, partners deepened their engagement – e.g., launched innovation awards, fostered connections to potential funders, and showcased promising models to policymakers. Most recently, partners have become more directly engaged in fostering public-private dialogue and serving as catalysts and advisers to country efforts to steward mixed health systems. In addition, they have connected to form a broader community, learning from each other and adopting the CHMI mission, and in some cases, raising additional funding to carry forward related activities.

Moka Lantum

"We cannot quantify the input to our bottom line, but what I can say is that we really appreciate the work that CHMI and ACA do. They have reduced our cost of collaboration, helping us make linkages we would otherwise not have been able to do.”
Moka Lantum, Director, MicroClinic Technologies

Lucy Nkirote

"As time goes by, organizations that consistently engage with CHMI say that CHMI removes the cost of collaboration. In convening so many stakeholders, CHMI reduces the barriers to connecting and collaborating, and that’s what programs need.”
Lucy Nkirote, Technical Advisor, Africa Capacity Alliance

Building Strong In-Country Networks

Building an in-country CHMI network has provided innovators with a place to go to brainstorm questions such as how to scale, how to replicate, how to diffuse and disseminate their ideas, and how to pass along lessons learned.

Facilitating the Diffusion of Innovations

Partners have developed competitions, hackathons, and pitch series aimed at fostering country level support amongst investors and policy makers. These locally driven events have fostered new awareness of what works in health markets and have sparked spin-off events in other regions.

PIDS logo

Philippine Health Market Innovation Awards

This program by the Philippines Institute for Development Studies highlighted more than 40 promising delivery, financing, and technology solutions. Judges representing business, academia, and government debated the merits of the various health programs, ultimately awarding initiatives they felt were pro-poor, sustainable, innovative, and had demonstrated real impact.

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ACA logo

East African Innovation Challenge

ACA developed the East African Innovation Challenge for newly-identified health innovations in Kenya and across East Africa. Twelve finalists were invited to showcase their innovation at the 2014 East Africa Healthcare Federation Conference, and three winners presented their model at the gala dinner, raising their visibility.

Read More

‘Chai and Chat’

ACCESS Health International invited private programs and public officials to engage in constructive and transparent dialogue around the topic of public-private partnerships in Rajasthan state, India.

Read More
Bipin Arora

“The Chai and Chat event was aptly suited for all us to mingle for short duration and understand each other’s strategic market movement and also connect for suitable business needs. I was able to connect with few of them and will be following up with them shortly.”
Bipin Arora, Vice President, Sevamob Ventures

Fostering Adaptation

CHMI's learning initiatives support collaborative knowledge sharing among promising innovations. Two of the main initiatives include the Primary Care Learning Collaborative and the Learning Exchange. These programs provide targeted learning opportunities for innovators, allowing them to improve and consider how to scale or adapt their models. This also builds on new research CHMI has developed in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support innovation translation and adaptation to new contexts.

Primary Care Learning Collaborative

In 2013, the Primary Care Learning Collaborative served as a peer-learning network that facilitated knowledge-sharing, joint problem-solving, and the collaborative development of promising approaches among five organizations employing chain and franchise models to deliver primary health care to low-income communities in Kenya, Burundi, and India. These organizations included: Access Afya, LifeNet International, Penda Medical Center, Ross Clinics, and Swasth India.

The Innovator's Handbook

In February of 2015 CHMI released the Primary Care Innovator's Handbook: Voices from Leaders in the Field as the culminating product of a year’s worth of activities by the Primary Care Collaborative. Written by implementers themselves, this Handbook shares knowledge in an open and ongoing conversation about concrete tools, approaches, solutions, successes, and failures, with the ultimate goal of helping organizations to scale and to overcome challenges.

The Adaptation Framework

In June 2015, CHMI introduced its Adaptation Framework for Global Exchange of Innovation tool. The framework, developed by CHMI with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is an interactive tool designed to provide guiding principles for identifying program attributes that are transferable to other contexts. It is accompanied by the Active Ingredients Guidebook, a report that includes a list of U.S. health system challenges and root causes, sample active ingredients for consideration and an illustrative case study about increasing enrollment of low-income communities in the U.S. Affordable Care Act Marketplace.

Learning Exchange

Learning Exchange logo

We've connected dozens of organizations through our small-grant program the Learning Exchange. Click here to learn more about how organizations are collaborating to find models that cross borders and scale solutions.

  • R4D.org

CHMI is managed by the Results for Development Institute. CHMI is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.