Medical care in our beloved country is awfully expensive, this is sadly due to the fact that the public health function has been woefully underfunded. A situation that has been made worse by the current Corona Virus Pandemic.
This is the reason why it is often said that a majority of Kenyans are one serious illness away from poverty. It simply means that one serious illness in the family can easily lead one to bankruptcy. This is because once someone is admitted in hospital, there are various costs that one must pay like the doctor’s fee, charges for tests, and drugs which more often than not are quite expensive. A regular occurrence that has resulted in many people initiating social media fund drives to facilitate the settling of hefty medical bills.
Medical bills have a way of taking away all the disposable income that a family has in the event of an illness. As such, you find that funds which could have otherwise been used to pay for school fees, improve the homestead or even invest in an income generating biashara are all spent on medical bills. It also does not help that due to the high cost of health care, many people end up being treated by unqualified healthcare practitioners in sub-standard medical facilities which are perceived to be cheaper where they might not get the proper diagnosis and treatment. They take advantage of the desperation of poor Kenyans to fleece them of their hard-earned money. Sadly, our media is awash with stories of people who have died as a result of wrong diagnosis and treatment by these unqualified individuals.
For those who decide to get quality medical care they find that they must dig deeper into their pockets or even borrow. This is simply how a well to do family can easily find itself in the vicious cycle of poverty. This is more so when it is the bread winner of the family who has been taken ill as during this period, they are not able to generate an income. In cases when the illness is prolonged, they might even lose their jobs! Imagine a situation whereby you don’t have money, you are in debt and now without a job, yet you have a family to sustain.
It is this lack of affordability of quality healthcare that prompted the Equity Group Foundation to come to the aid of Kenyans with the establishment of Equity Afia. Equity Afia is a chain of health clinics that operate on a franchise model in a partnership with medical entrepreneurs.
Equity Afia has tackled the issue of lack of affordability of quality healthcare for the common mwananchi by ensuring that their services are affordable. A good example of this is the fact that doctor consultation fees are charged at a flat rate of Ksh. 500. This is as opposed to others in the market who charge much higher consultation fees which are frankly out of reach for most Kenyans. They also do not engage in price discrimination depending on your mode of payment that is either cash or insurance. The practice has seen those who pay via insurance charged hefty fees for consultation and medicine unlike those paying cash which is quite unfair if you ask me.
The clinics also provide a platform for the alumni of the Equity Leaders Program who are qualified health professionals to join the franchise and use their health expertise to transform lives and livelihoods of Kenyans through offering affordable, quality and accessible healthcare.
The clinics which are so far 20 in number offer comprehensive outpatient care for the whole family. Services provided include consultation by the doctors, a wide range of outpatient procedures, modern laboratories and well-stocked in-house pharmacies. They also have in-house specialists such as pediatricians, gynecologists, obstetricians, optical services, dental services, dermatologists, nutritionists and well-baby clinics.
The fact that Equity Afia was specifically created to respond to the growing need of affordable but quality healthcare for all Kenyans is what I think differentiates it from other healthcare providers in the country. It is also why I believe it will be a game changer in the provision of healthcare in our country where people have gotten used to paying an arm and a leg for healthcare. With others passing away due to lack of access to the same.
At this point all I can do is hope and pray that Equity Afia will succeed in their quest of making quality healthcare affordable and accessible to all Kenyans.