North Star Alliance – Quality Healthcare

North Star’s quality healthcare services for mobile populations impact those most vulnerable to illness and prone to health risks.

Health Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
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Key Facts

  • Since they began operating in 2006, North Star has delivered essential healthcare services and interventions to more than 2 million clients across Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • North Star Alliance provides quality healthcare to mobile workers and key populations, including long-distance truck drivers, sex workers, and the communities they interact with.
  • Packages include primary healthcare services, treatments, and screenings, as well as sexual and reproductive health provision.
  • North Star has, to date, established 91 clinics in 20 countries.
  • In March 2020, North Star opened its first revenue-generation clinic as part of a fee for service pilot model.
North Star's Blue Box clinics are strategically located along the transport corridors of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Key Features

North Star Alliance’s mission is to provide quality healthcare to mobile workers and key populations, including long-distance truck drivers, sex workers, and the communities they interact with. Whilst away from home for extended periods, mobile populations are often isolated and neglected by public health facilities and traditional health systems. As a result, they become more vulnerable to illness and prone to taking health risks by not regularly testing or screening. This trend, inadvertently, plays a role in the transmission of disease between communities and across borders, and with mobility impacting their access to health services, North Star shaped its model on the following logic: “if they can’t get to healthcare, then healthcare needs to get to them.” With this in mind, we’ve systematically positioned our Blue Box clinics at hot spots such as border crossings, ports and overnight truck stops, where informal trades flourish and sex workers, truck drivers, and the surrounding communities often engage and interact. With limited access to healthcare, the mobile populations we target, require a broader range of services in addition to HIV treatments. As such, our clinics provide a package which includes primary healthcare services, treatments, and screenings, as well as sexual and reproductive health provision.

Social Impact

North Star Alliance was initially founded through a ground-breaking public-private partnership between the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and TNT Netherlands. Since they began operating in 2006, North Star has delivered essential healthcare services and interventions to more than 2 million clients across Sub-Saharan Africa, through a network of Blue Box clinics strategically located along the transport corridors of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The North Star model initially emerged when it became apparent to TNT that many of its drivers were being lost to the HIV epidemic. The wider implications of this were even greater, when the distribution of vital food supplies to communities across the continent, was becoming adversely affected. According to WFP research at the time, some transport companies estimated that 50% of their drivers had tested positive for HIV. Based on these findings, the North Star concept was formulated with the first pilot clinic opening in Mwanza, Malawi. Since then, North Star has expanded its operations across Sub-Saharan Africa and has, to date, established 91 clinics in 20 countries, through which it provides a unique primary healthcare package to key populations and hard-to-reach mobile workers across the region.

Future Plans

North Star is working strategically to diversify its income and strengthen longer-term sustainability to reduce levels of donor dependence. In March 2020, North Star opened its first revenue-generation clinic as part of a fee for service pilot model. North Star’s ambition is to roll the initiative out across its network in the coming years with the intention of decreasing dependence on subsidy and grants, rather than creating a mechanism for substantial profit.

Phase one of the pilot also involved the implementation of a new electronic medical records (EMR) system, which North Star plans to also roll out across its entire network.

Main Target Group

Truck drivers, sex workers, and the communities they interact with across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Main User

Truck drivers, sex workers, and the communities they interact with across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Price (in USD)

N/A

© North Star Alliance
© North Star Alliance
© North Star Alliance
© North Star Alliance
© North Star Alliance
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