UCLA Anderson’s Executive MBA’s Strategic Management Research Program teamed up with Women and Health Alliance International and project sponsor Johnson & Johnson to evaluate WAHA’s life-saving motorcycle-ambulance program. France-based WAHA, an NGO focusing on maternal and neonatal health in disadvantaged communities, works in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce birth-related death rates by improving emergency care in rural regions.
The EMBA SMR Program helps organizations develop strategic planning through in-depth analysis by an SMR team. The team of five or six students in their final academic year spends approximately 2,000 hours developing their plan, which includes financial, marketing, operational and strategic recommendations, as well as an analysis of the organization's value proposition in relation to the competitive environment.
The Anderson SMR team studied the group’s ambulance services in Ethiopia and Senegal to improve financial planning for the program, which also serves Kenya, Somalia, Niger and Chad. Kelly Yee (’13, EMBA) says the group also evaluated overall program focus. “The analysis helped WAHA’s ambulance system in Sub-Saharan Africa to meet local needs and ensure that the ambulances can be properly integrated within the health systems of recipient countries,” she said.
The group found that the challenge was greater than just life without Wi-Fi in rural Africa. “To evaluate WAHA's program, we looked for tools to serve as a framework to analyze and mitigate the program's risk in SSA. We quickly found that there were none out there,” Yee said. “So, we decided to build the tools necessary to analyze a program in a given region. Through this, we developed a risk analysis and mitigation and financial forecasting tool.”
The group’s work is proving beneficial to more than just expectant moms and children—other NGOs, foundations and private benefactors have expressed interest in using the tool to gauge other programs. “Our tools can be adapted to programs not just pertaining to motorcycle ambulances and Africa, but can serve as a base for any rollout program in a different geographic location,” Yee said. The team is currently discussing future possibilities.
In the meantime, WAHA will integrate key report findings into improving their motorcycle-ambulance system, as well as developing the financial model for the service.
Johnson & Johnson, one of WAHA’s benefactors, provided in-country help for the SMR team, as well as making the initial introduction between the two groups.