for social entrepreneurship

Health and well-being: breaking the vicious circle

Market trends

Health and well-being: breaking the vicious circle

How can we provide welfare and healthcare to the world’s fast-growing population? Globalisation makes it easier for innovative initiatives in one country to serve as a model for other countries.


Poor health is both the consequence and the cause of poverty. It is a vicious circle: poverty generates poor health; health problems create poverty. An integrated approach to all aspects of welfare and health is necessary to break this circle and offer a sustainable solution.

The world’s largest spectacles producer, Essilor, set up the non-profit Optique Solidaire in 2011 to provide poor pensioners in France with multifocal spectacles. They managed to involve all the companies and organisations in the value chain in the initiative, from the glass manufacturers to the ophthalmologists and opticians. The result is multifocals costing just 20 euros, a tenth of the original price.
The Aravind Eye Hospitals in India have a business model based on patients choosing whether to pay or not. Because of the high quality of the care they provide, the hospitals also attract affluent patients who are willing to pay the market price for their treatment. As a result, poor patients can be helped free of charge.