With the deterioration of public health services, medical care in the country has consequently become very expensive and out of the reach for many Kenyans. In fact, it is often said that a majority of Kenyans are one illness away from poverty. This fact has been proven to be true by the numerous fundraising appeals by various individuals on social media. A day does not go by without seeing an appeal for help in clearing a medical bill and with the tough economic times I sometimes wonder how successful these appeals are.
Private hospitals have taken advantage of the decline in the public hospitals to start charging an arm and a leg for one to access medical care. These hospitals have even refused to give emergency medical care to patients until a deposit is paid which has in some cases resulted in deaths. A good illustration of this case is when Alex Madaga died in an ambulance after being denied admission at two Nairobi hospitals after failing to come with a Ksh. 200,000 deposit.
As the private hospitals continue to pursue profits at the expense of life, there are a few hospitals which have chosen to serve the communities where they are located at affordable rates. The Blue Nile Medical Center in Malindi is one such hospital where despite the fact that they are a private hospital, they attend to the public at affordable rates. This has made it a good alternative for low income earners who seek medical attention.
However, due to the low rates charged, the hospital found itself in a predicament. They did not have testing equipment, at the same time they did not want to hike the rates as this would have made their services out of the reach of their clientele. It was at this time when Michael Kazungu who is the co-founder of the hospital found out about the Safaricom Ndoto Zetu initiative. He applied and stated his case, luckily his hospital was picked as one of the outstanding cases. Thereafter he was supported to purchase a Haemogram Machine which will now enable him to continue offering lab tests at affordable rates.