Touch Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 to help strengthen healthcare systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Touch was founded by Lowell Bryan, a former Senior Partner with McKinsey & Co. who understood that Tanzania faced a daunting healthcare environment, with declining life expectancy and increasing maternal and infant mortality. After working to address the dearth of health care workers in Tanzania (one of the biggest impediments to access to healthcare) through the successful co-creation of a large medical school in the Lake Zone of Tanzania, Touch began focusing on others of the most pressing global health challenges.
Touch applies a three-phase strategic approach to bring cost-effective and sustainable solutions to these challenges. In collaboration with funders, local partners and governments, Touch designs programs and implements them at a small scale to test their potential impact. Successful solutions are then scaled up to a national level, setting the stage to ultimately adapt and replicate them in other countries facing similar challenges to achieve broader impact.
Touch’s current programmatic priorities include its program to ensure access to emergency transport and high-quality care for obstetric and neonatal emergencies, leading to a reduction in maternal and infant mortality, and the use of its innovative and data-driven solution to optimize planning and decision-making around production, deployment and retention of scarce health workers. Given the private sector background of its Board members and several members of its staff, Touch is also focused on developing market-based solutions for portions of the private health sector to complement the role of the public health system in providing broader access to care to their population. To date, Touch has successfully implemented programs in Tanzania, Lesotho, Nigeria, Mozambique and South Africa.
Touch’s work is data driven and evidence based. Its goal is to prove impact of innovative programs by testing and implementing in Tanzania and then scaling to other African Countries. Ultimately, Touch intends that its programmatic work be used as a blueprint for expanding and improving healthcare services across Sub-Saharan Africa. Touch shares the knowledge and the information obtained through its work with policy makers and other stakeholders.
Touch’s budget is in the $6 million range and its funding comes from a variety of sources, including a cooperative agreement with USAID. Most of its people work overseas in Africa and other countries with the administrative and development functions centered in New York City. The people who work at Touch are very collaborative, focused, and driven to excel which has contributed to the impact that Touch has made.