In the developing world, sickness and disease continue to have a devastating impact on the poor, preventing economic development. 56% of Kenyans live on less than $1 a day and over 30% do not seek care when they are sick citing financial difficulties and lack of access as primary reasons. Access Afya will provide Kenyan consumers at the base of the pyramid with low cost, high quality, basic but critical health care services via high-tech mini clinics.
Our vision is to create a sustainable, scalable model for delivering critical health care services to underserved populations and to expand throughout Kenya and beyond.
Access Afya will be a chain of high-tech mini-clinics that bring care directly to the doorstep of the people who need it the most. We opened our pilot site in the slums in southeast Nairobi December 2012, which offers services, diagnostic tests, and medication. The average cost of consultation, testing, and treatment is around $4.00. The clinic is paperless, managing patient records, stock, SMS communication, and clinical protocols through electronic systems. A mini-clinic takes just four weeks and $5,000 to construct, furnish, and stock.
Access Afya is redefining each element of the health delivery chain with rigorous attention to cost, quality, and scalability. We start with the physical space: The average plot size in the slums is 12 x 15 feet, meaning a full outpatient
center needs to fit in this. Next, we recruit and train compassionate staff, build partnerships with government, and create referral networks for complicated conditions. We also innovate on health financing, and are offering “packages” of care and clinic memberships
to incentivize care and better match patient cash flows.
Technology is the backbone of this model, streamlining reporting, diagnoses and treatments, payments, staff learning, and patient follow-ups.
In Kenya 9 out of 100 children will not live to see their fifth birthday. Wealth is a major determinate of health; the poor are less likely to access preventative and life-saving treatments, to use family planning, and to know their HIV status.
As co-founder of Access Afya, I moved to Nairobi alone in June 2012, leaving job offers and a comfortable life in New York. Since then I have put all of the necessary processes in place to build Access Afya, from building a Kenyan team, finding a site, building, stocking, and licensing a clinic, and spending a lot of time talking to potential customers. I am devoted to making this work, and have found a team that feels the same way.
Our early impacts are huge: we have over 200 patients, and they are thanking us for healing their children, teaching them to use the family planning pills they had been buying for years, and responding to severe asthma attacks. We need help growing our pilot, and learning more about which education and marketing strategies are the most effective in finding and maintaining patients.