Equity Group Holdings is set to open clinics outside Nairobi and Thika as the lender seeks a presence in all 47 counties over the next five years.
Dr James Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Bank says that the lender intends to open one health center dubbed ‘Equity Afia’ in every country in the next five years.
The bank is currently supporting five clinics in Thika, Buru Buru, Ongata Rongai, Kayole and Kawangware. The health business is run as a franchised network under the bank’s social arm – Equity Group Foundation (EGF) -, which the regional lender says, offers “affordable and high quality” healthcare.The lender does not own the clinics, but offers support services like loans from an entrepreneurship fund and bulk buying of medicine and equipment for doctors wishing to set up such centers. EGF hired a management team made of professionals like a chief nursing officer, chief laboratory technologist, finance manager and an IT manager to oversee operations of the network of health facilities.
“Roll-out plan will break barriers that the general population have to accessing quality comprehensive primary health-care services,” said Dr Mwangi. “Equity Afia have adopted a very affordable pricing structure for their quality services and drugs with outpatient consultation with a medical doctor starting from Ksh 500.”
The push for a presence in the counties comes as Kenya face a shortage of doctors with specialized skills in far-flung hospitals, forcing patients to pay to travel to the capital Nairobi. Kenya’s doctor-to-patient ratio is one to 16,000, according to official data, far below a recommendation of the UN World Health Organisation of one to 1,000.
The Government has prioritised attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to reduce the expenditure burden that a majority of Kenyans incur while seeking healthcare.