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PharmAccess, Sanofi and CarePay partner to digitize diabetes and hypertension care in Kenya

An innovative pilot that will empower patients to access affordable and quality NCD care with a mobile phone and offers healthcare financing stakeholders a potentially scalable and efficient service model

  • Nov 08, 2018

PharmAccess, CarePay and Sanofi have announced a new partnership, Ngao Ya Afya (“Shield for Health”). Ngao Ya Afya aims to facilitate access to better diabetes and hypertension care in Kenya through a low cost, mobile technology enabled model. The partnership is committed to advancing patient access to care and testing new solutions to support government and private payers address healthcare affordability and financing challenges.

Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death globally, killing 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally . NCDs account for 27% of the total deaths and over 50% of total hospital admissions in Kenya . The highest risks of dying from NCDs are in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) – especially sub-Saharan Africa – with 85% of these deaths occurring in LMICs. Worldwide these countries are struggling to scale up NCD response due to lack of funding, staff and infrastructure. This program aims to use mobile technology to show how access to diabetes and hypertension care for individuals and their families across some of the most deprived regions can be increased.

(Dr. Loise Nyanjau, Cardiovascular Focal Point, NCD Unit, Ministry of Health Kenya & Dr. Eva Njenga, Chair NCD Alliance Kenya)

At the core of Ngao Ya Afya is M-TIBA, a health finance platform, integrating payments and transforming health schemes to drive healthcare inclusion. Funds on M-TIBA are specifically dedicated for healthcare and can only be used to pay for selected health schemes and services at accredited healthcare facilities. Over one million Kenyans have registered on M-TIBA through a range of healthcare insurance, savings and donor-funded programs. The rapid growth of M-TIBA in under 2 years is unprecedented in the African healthcare landscape. This program aims to use the platform to scale-up access to NCD care for individuals and their families – particularly among vulnerable families. The partners have designed a comprehensive service and finance package for diabetes and hypertension care that will be tested as a pilot in Kenya. It will roll out in three health facilities that are part of the M-TIBA network – reaching around 500 diabetes and hypertension patients and running until the end of 2019. M-TIBA will provide security and transparency for transactions conducted under the program. The doctors as well as other partners will have continuous insight into how the funds are being spent and on what kinds of care. These insights will be used to improve access, efficiency and quality in diabetes and hypertension care.

Commenting on the announcement, Isaiah Okoth, PharmAccess Kenya Country Director said, “Mobile solutions are crucial for scale up of NCD care in Kenya and low-middle income countries generally – especially in sub-Saharan Africa. With this project, we hope to develop scalable, low cost quality service that that gives people in need access to care and empowers patients to take charge of their own health.”

Jon Fairest, Head of Sanofi in Africa, said, “Non-communicable diseases are a growing burden in Kenya and in Africa. To be able to address this situation we need to create an ecosystem of partnership and develop innovative and sustainable care model for the sake of patients. Ngao Ya Afya is a good example of collaboration using mobile phones to provide services for patients. We look forward to engaging with government, private payers and other stakeholders to make Ngao Ya Afya sustainable in Kenya.”

Kees Van Lede, CEO, Carepay says, “You can see the devastating effect of NCDs on many families in Kenya, as care drains scarce resources and impacts on the future prospects of the whole family. M-TIBA enables direct targeting of groups that need support the most. The insights into healthcare usage and the quality of delivery are critical for designing effective and long-lasting solutions.”

In addition, PharmAccess works closely with sister organization the Joep Lange Institute, which is also providing consultative expertise on this project.