If you have visited Nyeri town recently, you might have spotted an Equity Afia health center at Kang’aru corner house along Kimathi Way. This facility was opened on 1st August last year under the leadership of Dr. Ndirangu who we were lucky to speak to and ask a few questions.
The clinic is part of the ongoing expansion of Equity Afia to all other counties in the country, with pilot centers in Kawangware, BuruBuru, Rongai, Kayole and Thika having been already in operation since 2015/2018.
How is community acceptance of the clinic?
In the short time it has been in operation, community acceptance of the Nyeri clinic and I believe all Equity Afia centers has been very impressive as a result of active marketing, as well as good affordable services.
How does Equity Afia work?
It is a purely outpatient facility with everything under one roof, and referral partnerships with specialists who are not part of the clinic. For cases requiring admission, patients have a choice of four hospitals within Nyeri county – Outspan Hospital, PCEA Tumutumu Hospital Karatina, Consolata Mathari Hospital and Jamii Hospital.
Is Equity Afia only for Equity Bank Account holders?
No. Contrary to what one would be forgiven for assuming, Equity Afia health centers are neither for Equity Bank Employees nor Equity Bank account holders only. They are open to all members of the public seeking quality fair priced healthcare services. To put the pricing in perspective for example, the consultation fee for seeing a GP is a flat figure of Kshs.500/- for both insurance card holders and those paying cash. For those seeing a consultant, there is a negotiated rate of Kshs.1,500/-. The clinics are well inclusive and work with all major insurance companies.
How did Equity Afia come to be?
Before the hugely successful Wings To Fly program came about, there was the Pre University Sponsorship programs through which Equity Foundation took bright students through their further studies. Like many beneficiaries who always wish to pay it forward with good deeds, some Pre University Sponsorship program old boys who did medical courses came together and approached Dr. Mwangi with the idea to create around 300 medical centers around the country under Equity Foundation. The end game was to bring quality healthcare services closer to communities at affordable prices. As such, Equity Afia is very much a commercial enterprise. A limited liability company owned by Equity Foundation.
Dr. Mwangi saw the vision of the initiative, gave it a nod and the founders were good to roll out the pilot clinics. The proposed operational model for Equity Afia as explained by Dr. Ndirangu is to have hubs at the top – big medical centers owned and run by fully qualified medical practitioners for comprehensive outpatient consultations, treatment and referrals. Under the hubs there are satellite clinics which are run by clinical officers, and under these there are Spoke clinics for very minor services like wound dressing of wounds. These can be run by nursing officers. Equity Afia clinics will be distributed around the country according to population and therefore levels of demand for services.
How is Equity Afia able to keep services affordable?
By having strategic partnerships. For example, Equity Foundation has been able to negotiate with bodies such as the Mission For Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS), which is a faith based non-profit organization whose mission is to provide quality and affordable health products and technologies, quality assurance and health advisory services.
The foundation is also in partnership with Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) for subsidized drug prices.