Bringing Affordable Health Care to Kenya
Three years ago, Lilian Nyambane quit her job as a clinician at a local hospital to join Penda Health, a FINCA Ventures partner providing affordable health care solutions in Kenya. As a professional, Lilian wanted a place where she could be more impactful and where she could grow. And as a mother, she sought a more reliable source of income so she could provide adequately for her two children. Penda Health ticked all those boxes.
In a country where the vast majority of people earn less than $10 per day, Penda Health has built a solution that makes health care affordable for low-income families. They hire mainly mid-level clinical officers like Lillian, whom they train and support to perform the same tasks as the more expensive medical officers. They support their clinicians with a high-tech clinical decision support system and extensive training on how to use that system.
Making Health Care More Accessible
Lilian felt at home immediately at Penda, where she knew she would be making a difference daily in the lives of so many people. At the Umoja 2 branch where she works, between 90-100 patients visit every day. The branch is open 24 hours a day and serves patients seven days a week. In addition, Penda Health makes clinicians available over the phone, Facebook and a WhatsApp chatbot, allowing them to be highly accessible.
“For Penda, patient experience is key,” says Lilian. “The community feels good about us. My neighbors are constantly asking me about Penda and I encourage them to visit us whenever they need any help.”
The typical visit to a Penda facility costs about $10, a fraction of the cost of what other private providers would charge. Individual services range from a general consultation for $5 to a pregnancy test for $3-4 to a Pap smear for $20. Each clinic has at least 13 employees and three exam rooms along with a full lab and pharmacy. Patients typically spend no more than an hour at Penda facilities, with a wait time of less than 15 minutes.
Maintaining Services During COVID
Like most enterprises, Penda Health was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lillian explains that patient numbers dropped as many of the people they serve lost their jobs or experienced financial difficulties. But, despite the slowdown in visitor traffic, Penda facilities remained open and Lilian is grateful that she and her colleagues were still able to work normal hours and continue earning an income. Lilian is very optimistic about the future and expects to serve with Penda for a long time. In fact, her ambition is to become a branch manager someday and to inspire her children to work toward their dreams.