Telenor Group has been recognized by Fortune magazine for its work to bring affordable healthcare to the mass market through its mobile health service, Tonic, in Bangladesh. Fortune, a globally renowned business magazine, included Telenor in its fourth annual ‘Change the World’ list of companies that are doing well by doing good.
The companies on this year’s ‘Change the World’ list hail from 19 different countries. Telenor Group has made it onto the list for its digital health service Tonic, which is making health service accessible and affordable for the customers of its Bangladeshi operation Grameenphone Ltd.
Fortune editor-in-chief Clifton Leaf writes that with partners Shared Value Initiative, the magazine has identified dozens of companies that are tackling public health, environmental, economic, or other societal challenges as part of their everyday operations. He stressed that the list wasn’t about the charity companies give, ‘rather is about solving problems through the only sustainable and scalable problem-solving machine we know of: business.’
‘Telenor is committed to bringing the benefits of being connected to as many people as possible. We believe that a more equal world is good for our business and for the people we serve. By making sure as many as possible of us can participate — having an identity, a bank account, an ability to access healthcare — we can have a real impact on reducing inequalities. To be recognized by Fortune as a company that contributes to Changing the World is a testament to how Telenor uses its vast footprint and the power of connectivity for social good, to create shared value,’ said Sigve Brekke, President & CEO of Telenor Group.
Fortune cited the following reasoning to include Telenor group in its list:
Telenor’s home country is among the world’s healthiest; now the company is helping to improve health in Bangladesh, where getting access to health care is difficult. Through Tonic, an app-based program aimed at subscribers of Telenor’s Grameenphone service, some 5 million customers have signed up for benefits like the Jibon (“Life”) app, which provides free information about maintaining a healthy, sanitary routine. Tonic Daktar (“Doctor”) provides access to immediate medical advice by phone for a fee of about 6¢ per minute. Tonic also offers discounts on medical services and financial aid for hospitalizations.
Speaking on the occasion, Grameenphone CEO, Michael Foley said, ‘The World Health Organization estimates that more than 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year due to medical costs and more than 400 million people lack access to basic health services. Yet in many places – particularly Telenor markets like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Myanmar – life-changing primary care and health insurance has remained out of reach. Tonic can play an effective role in resolving this situation.’