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How Kenyans Are Embracing Mobile Technology To Access Health Care

How Kenyans Are Embracing Mobile Technology To Access Health Care

Today, the Business Call to Action and the Private Sector Innovation Programme for Health (PSP4H) co-hosted an event to discuss how companies providing health care to low income Kenyans are leveraging mobile technology and to launch the BCTA funded publication, ‘Advancing Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) Access to Health Care: A Case Study on Mobile Money Platforms’.

The event brought together leaders from private sector companies, government, bilateral donors, civil society and the United Nations. Dr. Izak Odongo made the opening remarks on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary for Health Hon. Dr Cleopa Mailu and launched the report together with Ms Maria- Threase Keating, Country Director UNDP Kenya and Mr. Tony Gardner, Deputy Head, Department for International Development (DFID).

“The Ministry of Health is keen to ensure an enabling regulatory environment to encourage innovation and use of mobile technology in improving the health of Kenyans. M-Health is one of the pillars in the Kenya e-health strategy. The other four are telemedicine, health information system, e- learning and information for citizens,” explained Dr Odongo on behalf of Hon. Mailu. “One of the most important things M-Health will deliver to Kenyans is the ability to dramatically improve health service delivery.”

Speaking at the event Ms Keating said:

“In Kenya today, access to health care services remains a concern especially for those at the lower end of the economic scale. However through the efforts of inclusive business models which aim to include the poor in their value chains, we have seen an emergence of a wide spectrum of services for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid with services ranging from accessible health insurance to primary healthcare services, facilitated by technology and especially mobile platforms.”

Mobile money technology in Kenya has experienced an unprecedented uptake and growth in the last few years. Research has shown that more than half of Kenya’s population earning less than US$2.50 per day (Kshs 250) have access to a mobile phone. As at September 2015, the country had 28.7 million mobile money transfer subscriptions and over US$ 26.8 million (Kshs 2.7 billion) was transacted through mobile money platforms in 2014 – a figure that represents about 43% of the country’s GDP.

For the health sector, mobile money technology offers a unique and wide array of benefits ranging from improved efficiency and financial accountability for businesses, to increased access to health

care financing opportunities for consumers, especially those at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP)1. Several initiatives in Kenya that leverage mobile money to increase access to health care to the BoP have largely been pilots that are just beginning to scale up into sustainable and commercially viable enterprises.

Business Call to Action (BCtA) commissioned the report that was launched today in order to investigate the extent to which mobile money platforms are providing a means to scale up inclusive business models and access to health care to people at the BoP. It explores the challenges and opportunities to further scale up access to health care to people at the BoP through inclusive businesses that leverage on mobile money platforms.

Today’s event offered an opportunity for private sector companies profiled in the report to showcase their innovative work, share learning and discuss the opportunities for scaling up the new business models which include using mobile technology for payment for health care, health voucher systems, mobile money based savings and insurance products. Participating companies included MicroEnsure, Pharmaccess, Jacaranda Health and Changamka MicroHealth Ltd.

With funding from UKaid, PSP4H has been researching how the for-profit private sector can sustainably deliver quality, affordable healthcare services to the working poor. Using a market systems approach known as Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P), the aim is to strengthen the for-profit health sector’s capacity to reach the poor, then conduct research to assess if consumers get improved value for the money (VfM) they spend on health in the private sector when accessing that care.

Jawabu Empowerment Ltd, a beneficiary of technical assistance from PSP4H, showcased their work at today’s event. Their health insurance product Afya Poa, targets the Jua Kali sector and uses a mobile platform to enable premiums to be paid on a daily basis. The product is a combination of health insurance and health savings accounts (HSAs). The health insurance covers both inpatient and outpatient needs for the whole family. Part of the premium is set aside in a HSA to be accessed by the member whenever seeking outpatient treatment.

1 The BoP is defined as the population of people living on less than US$8.4 per day.

Notes to Editors

  • The Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a global joint advocacy platform providing public recognition for the private sector’s contribution to development. BCtA’s mission is to challenge companies to advance core business activities that are inclusive of low-income populations and thus contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals.
  • The Business Call to Action is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the UK Department for International Development, the US Agency for International Development, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat — in collaboration with leading global institutions, such as the United Nations Global Compact, Inter-American Development Bank’s Opportunities for the Majority Initiative, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.
  • The Private Sector Innovation Programme for Health (PSP4H) is a three-year programme funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented by a consortium led by Cardno Emerging Markets Ltd mandated to conduct action research and explore a new area for DFID Kenya, namely the markets in which poor people pay for-profit providers and shop-keepers for healthcare.
  • The overall objective of the PSP4H programme is to learn lessons of how a market systems approach might benefit pro-poor health interventions. The primary target group for the project is the ‘working poor’, who have some disposable income and usually make out-of- pocket payments for health care.
  • PSP4H encourages the private sector to invest in providing health care products and services to this target group. The programme partners with the private sector to identify innovative approaches and pilot them; if they are successful and viable, they will be replicated and scaled up. The programme helps mitigate the risk of innovation for investors. Lessons learned and knowledge gained will be documented and shared.
  • For more information, please visit www.psp4h.com; www.businesscalltoaction.org or follow us on twitter at @psp4h or @BCtAInitiative.

Private Sector Dialogue: Jointly Achieving Universal Health Coverage

Private Sector Dialogue: Jointly Achieving Universal Health Coverage

Since its conception in 2004, Kenya Healthcare Federation’s (KHF) network has grown steadily, bringing together a diverse group of private healthcare organisations to network, learn and reason together as a unified voice. This became evident when over 40 healthcare financing champions stepped away from their normal schedule to take part in a groundbreaking topic, “Healthcare Financing and Universal Health Coverage”, on the 23rd of March 2016 at Sankara Hotel Nairobi.

The breakfast meeting which was hosted by Financial Sector Deepening, Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) and Private Sector Partnership for Health (PSP4H) realised fruitful discussions around healthcare financing challenges in Kenya and possible solutions for the same. Dr. Omar H. of Ministry of Health Kenya gave the opening remarks where he briefed everybody of the success of the recent Healthcare financing tour to Japan by Kenya organised by JICA.

During the event, findings from the new FSD financial diaries report, “Struggling to thrive: How Kenya’s low income families (try to) pay for healthcare,“ was released in a presentation by Julie Zollmann. The report which includes recommendations for stakeholders working towards UHC, moved the audience to heated dialogs.

Hot topics on the table were issue surrounding NHIF, role of the private sector in achieving UHC, what and how to fix Public Private Partnership (PPP) and private health insurers greater penetrations to the low income market.

Chairman of Kenya Healthcare Federation Dr Amit N. Thakker who was also the chief host, coordinated the roundtable discussions which are to be documented as the views of the private sector as an input for the Kenya Health Financing Strategy. Some of the major Healthcare champions who attended were Dr. Amit N. Thakker of KHF, Dr Omar H of MOH, Mr Daniel Mulinge of NHIF, Mr Isaac Nzyoka of UAP Insurance, Dr Njeri Mwaura and Jane Chuma of World Bank Group and Ron Ashkin of PSP4H.

Organizations who participated in the discussions towards the role of the private sector in Kenya’s strategy to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) included Ministry of Health Kenya, NHIF, KHF through its directors, World Bank Group, PSP4H, JICA, UAP Insurance, PS Kenya, Grameen Foundation, GE Healthcare, Mariestopes Kenya, UNICEF, Pharm Access Foundation, KMA, Kabarak University Health store, FSD, Intrahealth International, Madison Insurance, Microensure, KAFP, CFW Clinics, FSDK, and R4D.

From the FSD financial diaries report, “struggling to thrive” it’s evident that Kenya has made great strides in improving key health outcomes for its population, despite this advances the reality is that the direct and indirect cost of healthcare  remain an important barrier to access and in turn better health for Kenyans low income groups. The government effort to eliminate user fees have not solved the cost problem since a large number of visits continue to take place at private facilities and stock outrages often force the poor to purchase drugs from private pharmacies.

KHF’s Healthcare financing committee chaired by Isaac Nzyoka’ of UAP Insurance will continuously engage with the government in healthcare financing policy formulation meetings and specifically the Kenya Health Financing Strategy to voice support and concerns and provide alternative solutions from the private sector to issues facing the healthcare financing.

KHF Chair meets the CS Health, Dr Cleopa Mailu

KHF Chair meets the CS Health, Dr Cleopa Mailu

Dr Amit N. Thakker , Chair of the Kenya Healthcare Federation met with Dr Cleopa Mailu, Cabinet Secretary of Health, Kenya on 18th March 2016 at Afya House.

They discussed about how to scale up the model of collaboration between the public and the private sector in health.

Dr Mailu , who also was previously the chair of the Federation , welcomed the PPP engagement which will continue to augment the initiatives that Ministry of Health has already embarked upon.

Dr Thakker , mentioned that KHF will provide the platform where innovative partnerships and ideas can be incubated to improve the overall health in Kenya. He also shared with the CS all the partnership projects in which KHF remains an active player.

They both agreed to continue with the regular Ministerial Stakeholder Forum meetings on-going where priority areas of concern or partnerships will be discussed with the private sector.

KHF Reaches Out To The Counties In An Exclusive Lunch Meeting In Eldoret

KHF Reaches Out	To The Counties In An Exclusive Lunch Meeting In Eldoret

Since its conception in 2004, Kenya Healthcare Federation’s (KHF) membership has steadily, bringing together a diverse group of private healthcare organizations to network, learn and reason together as a unified voice. This became evident in an exclusive lunch meeting at the Boma Inn Hotel in Eldoret organized by KHF and Eldoret Hospital on the 4th of March 2016. KHF members present in the Eldoret area and KHF potential members from the region participated in the meeting  to welcome the KHF team and to mark the beginning in KHF’s county engagement.

KHF was represented by Dr. Sam Agutu, KHF Director Mrs. Puja Tank, KHF Administrator.

The meeting’s main aim was to introduce KHF to Uasin Gishu County, as well as getting in touch with KHF members in the county and to highlight the major healthcare issues affecting private organizations at the county level.

Dr. Sam Agutu presented the meeting with more information about KHF, KHF’s current membership and the different membership categories, membership benefits and set out the main recent achievements of the Federation. He also pointed out the role of the county chapters and the process of formulating the chapters.

In the county, healthcare demand trends are changing and there is an increased willingness of the growing Kenyan population at  county level to pay for better treatment, which has opened doors to the private health sector. At the county the private sector, under stewardship of KHF, has to play a new role in providing improved healthcare at the county level.

KHF will continuously engage with the government in policy formulation meetings to voice support and concerns and provide alternative solutions to issues facing the health sector.

Kenyan Health Experts visit Japan for a UHC Study

Kenyan Health Experts visit Japan for a UHC Study

The delegation composed of:

  • Mr. Jack Ranguma (Governor of Kisumu and the Health Chair of the Council of Governors)
  • Dr, Omar Ahmed Omar Mohamed (Deputy Head, Department of Policy, Planning and Healthcare Financing / Head of Division, Health Financing, Ministry of Healtj
  • Ms. Rhodah Wanjiku Njuguna (Ag. Director, Health Directorate, Health Council of Governers)
  • Dr. Andrew Mutava Mulwa (County Executive Committee Member for Health, County Government of Makueni / Chair, Country Executive Forum for Health)
  • Ms. Rachel Kaki Nyamai (Chairperson of the Health Committee, National Assembly, Parliament of Kenya)
  • Hon. Dr. James Wambura Nyikal (Member of the Health Committee, National Assembly, Parliament of Kenya)
  • Ms. Esther Waithera Nginyo (Health Committe Technical Advisor, National Assembly, Parliament of Kenya)
  • Dr. Amit Niranjan Thakker (Chairman, Kenya Healthcare Federation)

L to R : Mr. Jack Ranguma, Dr. Amit N. Thakker and Amb Solomon Maina

The team met the Kenyan Ambassador to Japan H.E Amb. Solomon Maina on 18th January and briefed him on the objective of the study tour that was facilitated by JICA.

The Vice-President of JICA warmly received the delegation from Kenya and looked forward to a fruitful collaboration between the two countries. Kenya team had several sessions with leaders from the government and private sector. The health experts shared the challenges and successes of the journey towards Universal Health Coverage in Japan and later demonstrated the overall benefits archived by the country especially in light of the aging population of the Nation.

Japan attained universal health coverage for its citizens in 1961 and currently spends about $ 4,000 per capita for comprehensive healthcare.

13% is the currently paid as out of pocket expenses. 48.6% is contributions from the employer and employee while 38.4% is the public subsidy

The Kenyan team is extremely delighted to have been given this opportunity to learn from Japan. The plans are underway by the Ministry of Health in Kenya for an all- inclusive process towards making a difference in the much needed health finance pillar.

Kenya Healthcare Federation holds its end year Members meeting

Kenya Healthcare Federation holds its end year Members meeting

Kenya Healthcare Federation concluded its activities for the year 2015 with an exclusive lunch meeting held at Serena Hotel on the 10th of December. The meeting well attended with members, guests and Development Partners was graced by Hon Stephen Mule as the chief guest.

Stop TB Partnership Kenya who supported the event is leading the way to a world without tuberculosis (TB), a disease that is curable but still kills three people every minute. Founded in 2001, the Partnership’s mission is to serve every person who is vulnerable to TB and ensure that high-quality treatment is available to all who need it.

Ms. Evaline Kibuchi, the National Coordinator of Stop TB Partnership Kenya presented under the theme of “do more, do something, do better together”.


Mr. Jed Ondiko, President of University students’ community organization (UNISCOO) project, presented the Health Care Innovation Challenge (HCIC). This project aims at harnessing creativity amongst students and expertise of academia to produce health solutions that are safe & effective, frugal, scalable and innovative.

The members meeting that followed was chaired by Dr. Amit N. Thakker and also present was the Vice Chair Dr. K. K. Gakombe together with the other Directors of KHF.  We were privileged to have Mr. Syed Sohail from Kisumu, Aga Khan Hospital and Dr Timothy Olweny from Evans Sunrise Medical Centre, Nakuru as our invited guests.

The meeting which was attended by over 60 members and guests deliberated on the updates from the following KHF committees.

Healthcare Regulations and Quality & Standards committee report was presented by Millicent Olulo, Supply Chain Committee by William Mwatu, Healthcare Financing Committee by Dr. Amit N. Thakker and Dr. George Rae, Public Private Partnership Committee by Dr. Jaqueline Kitulu and Human Resource for Health Committee by Winnie Shena.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year as we look forward to more updates in the year 2016 with KHF update, “Your everyday peek behind the health scenes at KHF with exclusive sustainability news resources, tips and more”

KHF marks a new beginning in an exclusive cocktail event

KHF marks a new beginning in an exclusive cocktail event

Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) has grown in the years that have passed, bringing together various healthcare organizations to network, lean and reason together as one voice. This was evident in the Exclusive Cocktail event organized by KHF on the 15th of September 2015 where KHF members turned out in numbers to celebrate and mark a new beginning in its leadership.

The event which was attended by distinguished healthcare professionals and Leaders of the private health sector was celebrated at KHF office basement at Rosami court.

The event which majorly aimed at thanksgiving to the outgoing board and ushering in the new KHF board of directors also highlighted the success KHF has undergone for the past 10 hears. The vibrant KHF board which was elected in the 7th AGM held on 27th August 2015, were all present to share their approach towards new governance in order to make a difference.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Amit N. Thakker, the new elected Chairman of KHF pointed out the changing trends in Healthcare demand in Kenya and the willingness of the growing Kenya middle class to pay for better treatment, saying it has opened doors to the private sector to play a new role in providing better healthcare.

“Though the leadership of the new Board, which comprises of brilliant minds in our sector and its inclusive membership, KHF will forge ahead with its main activities around Advocacy, Regulations, Public Private Partnerships, Quality and Standards, Networking & Trade opportunities and Health Project Partnerships” he clarified.


KHF being the Health Sector Board for Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), the presence of the chairman of KEPSA Mr. Dennis Awori was highly felt in his speech which sited the honor KEPSA have to have incubated KHF in its early stages. He also congratulated KHF members and Leadership for the success.

“At KEPSA, which is the voice of the private sector, we have institutionalized multiple advocacy channels which include PRT, SRT, and COG” he said.

“KHF will continue to take advantage of these so as to continuously engage with the government to promote the pro- growth policies for the sector. I am aware that the Health MSF is very active and I urge you to keep up this momentum as dialogue remains the pivot on building partnerships and solutions.”


The cocktail which went in to the night welcomed varieties of fashion and elegance from the wide range of healthcare ball as members tossed to the success.


Kenya Healthcare Federation elects new Chairmen and Board at AGM

Kenya Healthcare Federation elects new Chairmen and Board at AGM

(L-R) Puja Tank (KHF Administrator), Winnie Shena (Director), Peter Kamunyo (Director), Amit Thakker (Chairman), Kanyenje Gakombe (Vice Chairman), Faith Muigai (Director), Joyce Wanderi (Director). Not in the picture – Sam Agutu (Director), Jackie Kitulu (Director), Bola Tafawa (Director)

Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) the health board for Kenya Private Sector Alliance which is dedicated to engaging the government and all relevant stakeholders in achieving quality healthcare by maximizing the contribution of the private sector held its 7th AGM on 27th August 2015.  The Federation represents the private health sector with membership from corporate industry, institutional association and professional associations

Dr. Amit N Thakker was elected as the new KHF Chair who takes over from Mr. Walter O Ookok, having served in this position for eight years. Dr.Kanyenje K Gakombe from the Kenya Association of Hospitals comes in as the Vice Chairman.


“Amit is a well-known industry expert in the health space with a positive track record that speaks for itself. His appointment as the Chair of the Kenya Healthcare Federation will add immense value in shaping the private sector’s role in improving overall health care in Kenya. On behalf of the Board of Directors and management of KEPSA I extend our congratulations to Dr Thakker and his new Board of Directors and wish them well for their term ahead. We will provide them all the support they need to make a positive difference to the nation as it transits from the old order under the previous constitution into the new one with it’s unique challenges caused by devolution,” says Dennis Awori , the Chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance

The AGM that was attended by leading private hospitals and service providers, pharmaceutical industry, insurance and finance institutions, health professional associations, NGOs and several other private sector health partners also voted in seven other Directors to serve a 3 year term.

Rwanda hosts EAHF Conference 2015

Rwanda hosts EAHF Conference 2015

Prime Minister of Rwanda, Hon. Anastase Murekezi, addresses the participants during the opening ceremony of EAHF Conference 2015

Rwanda Healthcare Federation hosted the East African Healthcare Federation (EAHF) Conference 2015 in Kigali, Rwanda from 17th– 19th May, 2015 at a Rwanda hotel. The Conference’s theme was ‘The Role of the Private Sector in Financial sustainability of Healthcare Delivery Systems.’

The conference was organized into different sessions where different issues within the health sector got to be addressed, among them innovative models for access to healthcare; new regional trends in technology and health; aligning partnership with the private sector (PPPs); Regulations and government policies; Community empowerment through healthcare; Role played by the Private Sector in the Ebola epidemic; Competitive edge improving financial sustainability; Emerging trends in medical travel and tourism; and Key health priorities In the East African region.


Dr. Amit N. Thakker, CEO-KHF walks in with the Hon. Anastase Murekezi, Prime Minister of Rwanda for the Opening Ceremony

There was a good representation of delegates from all 5 East African countries among them participants from both the private and public sectors. With their participation in the two days, the outcomes from the conference were as follows: Reinforcing Public Private Dialogue in the healthcare industry in Rwanda; Improved harmonization of regulation at regional level for the healthcare industry Increase investment in the; Rwanda healthcare industry through collaboration with regional and national enterprises(private healthcare facilities, diagnostic centers, laboratories, pharmaceutical distributors, and improved benefit packages offered by the insurance industry); Defining the roadmap in achieving universal healthcare coverage in EAC; Human Resources for health; improved collaboration with academia and higher education facilities within EAC that will improve the skill based and the quantity of healthcare within Rwanda which will directly impact on increased inbound medical travel .


(L-R) Danny Mutembe, Conference Director 2015, Hon. Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health- Rwanda, Dr. Amit N. Thakker, CEO- KHF