It is personalised, it is affordable and accessible to some of Nairobi’s residents in informal settlements.
A program dubbed Akiba ya Roho is enlisting about 10,000 people living in informal settlements and they will all benefit from free screening and treatment should they be found to have diabetes and high blood pressure.
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Akiba ya Roho program will be available in all Access Afya clinics which are located in Kiambio, Eastleigh and Mukuru slums.
With the high burden of non-communicable diseases in Kenya, Akiba ya Roho allows members to save money on their mobile wallets and are subsequently able to access healthcare at Access Afya clinics where their conditions are managed and controlled.
The program has been facilitated in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim which is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies as well as Access Afya, a chain of low cost micro-clinics offering outpatient services for low income communities. Speaking during the launch of Akiba ya Roho, Access Afya chief of staff Maggie Kiplagat said,
‘’when you keep the care low in terms of costs, you are able to scale with very minimal funding. Access Afya is not an NGO. We are proud that we are not an NGO because we are here to stay.’’
Dr Eduardo Lioy, representative of Boehringer Ingelheim said, ‘’Most Kenyans do not have access to adequate basic healthcare for themselves or their families’’.
The high cost of living coupled poverty for majority of Kenyans often shuts them out of a healthcare system that is either too expensive or too removed from the localities where they live.
Bridging this gap, by providing affordable and accessible care in the environment that the majority of low income earners live is a step towards healing a nation that is grappling with an increasing number of people suffering from non-communicable diseases.
According to Margaret Kiplagat, ‘’Akiba ya Roho is an extension of our strategy to create a model of comprehensive primary care for the global mass market: people that earn Sh200-500 per day ($2-5)
By focusing on non-Communicable-Diseases, Akiba ya Roho is touching on the very nerve that is threatening to become a major burden if systems are not put in place to stem the skyrocketing numbers of people living with hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
NCDs have for a long time been poorly funded and even referred to as a rich-mans-burden but experts now warn that Kenya and indeed Africa is becoming more and more burdened by these diseases.
Non communicable diseases are insidious in their onset yet the complications that arise are debilitating and often end up in deaths that could have easily been prevented.