Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical multinational, on Monday announced the results of its access to healthcare programs part of the “In reach Africa” programs namely Kuza Afya and Tiba Yako in Nairobi and Western Kenya.
Kuza Afya is a diabetes and hypertension care program designed to work with communities and healthcare workers through comprehensive education, screening and care.
It was unveiled in January 2019 and rolled out in Bungoma County, Western Kenya until December 2019. During this period, over 70,000 community members were screened for hypertension and 40,000 for diabetes.
“Hypertension and diabetes prevalence rates are still very high in Nairobi and Western Kenya regions. However, through Kuza Afya and Tiba Yako we were able to identify the key challenges on the ground being lack of awareness on the diseases and access to healthcare services especially in the grassroots and low income areas. ” said Simon Manyara, Product Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The two programs helped bridge this gap by equipping more clinics with basic diagnostic kits so as to test as many people as possible and link patients with the right management to avoid any complications occasioned by late diagnosis. We will continue to offer technical support to the projects on the ground to ensure that they continue offering these services to the community,” he added.
The program was implemented in partnership with the AMPATH Consortium comprising of multiple North American academic institutions led by Indiana University, and partners with the Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Western Kenya, working together to exchange knowledge, share resources, train medical professionals, and reach patients and communities
The programme also trained over 500 community health workers and 57 clinical officers and nurses on identification, prevention and management of the two conditions. An innovative supply chain mechanism using a portable pharmacy was created to ensure uninterrupted supply of medicines for those in need.
Through these efforts, over 5,000 new patients in the region are now accessing care for hypertension and diabetes routinely. To support care for the patients diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes health facilities were equipped with basic diagnostic kits and care protocols and offered mentorship for quality care.
Tiba Yako is a digital service model for diabetes and hypertension care mainly in Nairobi.
The program was rolled out last year by Boehringer Ingelheim in partnership with Pharm Access mainly targeting people living in slum areas and other informal settlements in Nairobi. Through this program, patients have access to a mobile health wallet with which they can save for healthcare expenses and acquire discounted prices for treatment of chronic illnesses.
Under the Tiba Yako programme, patients were screened and directly supported through awareness programmes, access and adherence to diabetes and hypertension care.
Patients also acquired a device to measure their blood pressure and/or glucose levels at home and were trained by agents to enter these figures in a self-management app.
The programme enrolled over 1,435 patients in Nairobi in one year and continue to access care for hypertension and diabetes routinely.
During the roll out, 7 clinics were selected to support care for the patients diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes. The health facilities were also equipped with basic diagnostic kits and care protocols and offered mentorship for quality care.
This digital model has been hailed as successful in the management of hypertension and diabetes patients owing to the mobile phones access and network penetration in Kenya. The programme registered patient adherence of 48%, which is higher than the projected 27%.
Tiba Yako is anchored by M-TIBA, a digital payment platform for healthcare that was developed by PharmAccess and partners.
M-TIBA provides access to healthcare by connecting people to clinics and healthcare funders, directly through a wallet on their mobile phone, and exchanging money and data between them.
The two programmes are part of Boehringer Ingelheim ‘In Reach Africa’ programme which aims at improving quality and access of human and animal healthcare across the African continent.
The ‘In Reach Africa’ programme has been developed to collaborate with multiple key local stakeholders to empower the health systems and is designed to adapt to the current healthcare realities in Africa.
The programme was launched last year in Kenya and later rolled out in other Sub Sahara Africa countries like Nigeria and Ghana. Through this programme, Boehringer Ingelheim targets the major NCDs (non-communicable diseases) like Diabetes, Hypertension and Stroke.