Amsterdam, the Netherlands — Philips Foundation, with its mission to provide access to quality healthcare for underserved communities through meaningful innovation, today announced the publication of its 2021 Annual Report.
The report highlights 24 projects initiated by Philips Foundation in collaboration with NGOs, government organizations, and community groups in 2021 that helped deliver better access to quality healthcare for more than 17 million people in underserved communities around the world, more than double the number the year before. In total, 28 new initiatives were started, including support for 8 social enterprises and 9 new projects to help hospitals and communities respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The report also highlights Philips Foundation’s newly-incorporated social impact investment vehicle, which nurtures early-stage social enterprises.
“Donations alone do not sustainably improve healthcare systems. Maximum impact and long-lasting change can only be achieved through meaningful innovation born of a thorough understanding of local context and needs, cultural behaviors, and standard practices, together with the myriad details associated with the rollout of new solutions or services,” said Margot Cooijmans, Director of Philips Foundation. “Our success in 2021 means we are well on our way to realizing the foundation’s ambition of providing better access to healthcare for 100 million people a year in underserved communities by 2030.”
Philips Foundation focuses on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mother and child care, and acute (emergency) care, digitalizing and integrating technology-enabled healthcare solutions for underserved communities. The foundation explores ways to empower community health workers by providing them with tools, technologies, and skills that enhance the quality of care they can deliver. Increasing the probability of sustaining healthcare services and make them independent of donations, the foundation supports social entrepreneurs that share its commitment to create positive social impact.
Examples of how these approaches are bringing about lasting change include:
- Deploying technology-enabled solutions — Despite its recognized benefits, diagnostic imaging to identify high-risk pregnancies is insufficiently available in many low-resource rural and remote areas, due to a shortage of trained physicians, as well as barriers such as a lack of awareness, distance to hospitals, and high out-of-pocket expenses. For example, Philips Foundation supports multiple projects that leverage the tele-health capabilities of Philips’ handheld point-of-care ultrasound platform to deliver expert remote learning programs for sonographers and midwives, as well as providing real-time support.
- Empowering community health workers — Completing the ‘last mile’ to connect people living in remote communities with their healthcare system often remains a challenge in limited-resource settings. In collaboration with the ‘Save a Mother’ initiative in Kenya, Philips Foundation is helping to provide community-based healthcare workers with a backpack full of diagnostic devices, from a contactless thermometer to a blood pressure monitor and an automated respiratory rate counter, that helps them diagnose conditions such as pneumonia, early-stage diabetes and high-risk pregnancies.
- Supporting social entrepreneurs — International NGOs typically fly in two-thirds of the aid supplies they need when responding to a humanitarian crisis because they cannot easily leverage local supply chains. Through its newly-formed social impact investment vehicle (Philips Foundation Impact Investments B.V.) Philips Foundation is providing financial support and guidance on how to scale up social enterprises such as Solvoz, which created a digital procurement platform that allows aid organizations to quickly identify local sources of the equipment and services needed for rapid disaster response.