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Is Your Company Ready to Become a Change-Maker?

By Guillermo Pepe - Mamotest


By Guillermo Pepe | Creator and CEO - Wed, 02/15/2023 - 17:00

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February marks Mamotest’s first anniversary in Mexico. It is quite incredible to think that it was just a year ago that we arrived here, with an invaluable experience behind us and a new, inspiring challenge in sight. After a decade focusing on Argentina, Mexico felt like the next big step: the medical needs of the Mexican people — 85% of the country’s population doesn’t have any health insurance — were undeniable. 

What I had no idea about back in January 2022, though, was that our goal to become a key change-maker in the local health industry would, first and foremost, change us as an organization.

Let me share with you a short story I recall every time I feel overwhelmed by the mission ahead. A shoemaker sends two emissaries to Africa. When both return, one sighs: “There is no chance to thrive there, everyone walks barefoot,” while the other one announces cheerfully: “Enormous business opportunity: everyone walks barefoot!” This is how I felt a year ago: torn between two opposite views of the same reality.

Almost 90% of Mexican women are in desperate need of a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. When a Mexican woman requires an appointment for a mammogram, she is given one for at least three months in the future. What’s even worse, she does not get the results back for another three  to four months — this kind of delay is almost like a death sentence for patients in need of treatment, since the disease has a 98 percent survival rate if detected at an early stage.

In the meantime, private hospitals in Mexico have a remarkable network of mammogram centers across the country, with around 70% idle capacity. So why do women not show up at private hospitals to speed up their exams, and potentially save their lives? 

Obviously, our first guess was that the reason was financial. However, our strategy of cutting the cost of the mammogram from US$50 or even US$60 down to US$10 made no difference: most women still would not bother to have their checkup done. What was going on?

We finally realized that both the Mexican healthcare system and Mexican society lack a culture of prevention. Social and historical factors, as well as taboos and fear, keep Mexican women from getting a breast cancer diagnosis. 

But we also found a silver lining: Since the healthcare system excludes most people, private companies across Mexico are investing more every year in their employee’s well-being. And so, we pivoted our B2C strategy to a B2B approach, reaching out to companies that understand that they must engage in their employee’s health, not just because it is convenient for them (less disease, more productivity) or because “it is the right thing to do,” but because this kind of action uplifts the organization to a higher, inspiring purpose. In other words, companies can become genuine change-makers in the society they are part of. 

Our alliance proposal is simple: companies bear the cost of a certain amount of mammograms annually, and we make all the rest happen. Mamotest works on all levels, from encouraging breast cancer awareness to connecting with private diagnostic centers that can take on the growing demand of mammograms. We also guarantee high-quality, on-time diagnosis, and we personally accompany the women with positive results throughout their treatment process. 

This is how, in these last 12 months, we reached almost 70,000 women, and 87% of at-risk patients accessed treatment on time. Our efforts have been recognized across the globe. In 2022, Mamotest became part of the World Economic Forum’s 100 Tech Pioneers 2022/2023, it was selected by the Norrsken Foundation as one of the 100 companies that can save 1 billion lives, and was the first healthtech startup to participate in strategic discussions at the Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, among other recognitions.

I reflect upon these achievements from the United Arab Emirates, of all places. I traveled almost 15,000km to participate in the 15th ceremony of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, a prestigious award that Mamotest won exactly a year ago. In this new edition, our company was selected as one of the three most inspiring cases in the prize’s history.

I can’t help but think that, even though 2022 was an incredible year, 2023 will take us even further. And I am certain that private companies in Mexico will be key allies. As one of our associates always says, “Instead of investing in yet another coffee mug as the annual corporate present, it is cheaper — and way more impactful — to give your employees the gift of life.” 

Dozens of visionary companies across Mexico have already joined us in this unprecedented movement, and I have no doubt that we will be talking about thousands of corporate allies in the near future. So, what about your organization? It can become a change-maker, too.

Photo by:   Guillermo Pepe

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