Last month, PharmAccess hosted Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in Kenya, with the goal of demonstrating how Ministry funding has helped deliver digital interventions that increase lending to health Small and Medium Establishments (SMEs). In many cases, these loans have directly led to improved health services through the adoption of digital technology and mobile health wallets that better connect patients, providers and payers.
Kaag visited Sinai village, a slum in Nairobi County with an estimated population of over 100,000 people. Like many informal settlements, Sinai faces numerous challenges including poor housing, extreme overcrowding, and inadequate sanitation and water services. Many families there also face the constant threat of eviction due to insecure land tenure.
As part of her visit, the minister spent time at Olivelink Healthcare. There, she spoke with the facility’s owner, Josephine Suleiman, an entrepreneur who has benefited from multiple PharmAccess initiatives. Through Medical Credit Fund, Josephine was able to access 13 digital loans that she used to procure drugs, pay out staff salaries and also put down a deposit on new hospital beds. After the loans were disbursed, the clinic enrolled in the SafeCare initiative and underwent a quality assessment before taking direct, actionable steps as part of a SafeCare improvement plan to deliver better quality services.
During the visit, the minister observed M-TIBA registration firsthand, and also took part in a discussion with PharmAccess and CarePay about how achieving universal health coverage in a financially sustainable manner requires engaging Kenya’s large informal sector. Finally, the group discussed the future of PharmAccess efforts in Kenya, including ways to scale up enrolment exercises and design subsidies for those who cannot pay health insurance premiums.
We were honored to meet with the minister, and to demonstrate the impact of our work on the ground. We look forward to deepening our partnership with her and the Dutch Ministry, to focus more closely on our shared goal of ensuring that everyone gets access to affordable healthcare they can trust.