Equity Group Holdings is set to open clinics outside Nairobi and Thika as the lender seeks a presence in all 47 counties over the next five years. The “Equity Afia” health centers will have affordable pricing structures for their services and drugs.
The health business is run as a franchised network under the bank’s social arm -Equity Group Foundation, (EGF) which offers affordable and high-quality healthcare. Equity does not own the clinics but offers support services like loans from an entrepreneurship fund and bulk buying of medicine and equipment for doctors wishing to set up such centres. The Equity Group Foundation has hired a management team made of professionals like a chief nursing officer, chief laboratory technologist, finance manager and an IT manager to oversee operations of the network of health facilities.
The group is set to open clinics outside Thika and Nairobi first. They will then continue to establish their presence in the other counties over the next five years. The push for a presence in the counties comes as Kenya faces a shortage of doctors with specialized skills in far-flung hospitals, forcing patients to pay to travel to the capital Nairobi. The project will help people from all counties get medical attention easily.
Kenya’s doctor-to-patient ratio is one to 16,000, according to official data, far below a recommendation of the UN World Health Organization of one to 1,000. The Kenya Government has prioritized attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to reduce the expenditure burden that a majority of Kenyans incur while seeking healthcare.
According to Dr. Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Bank, the roll-out plan will break barriers that the general population has had in accessing quality comprehensive primary health-care services. Equity Afia has adopted a very affordable pricing structure for the services and drugs with outpatient consultation with a medical doctor starting from Ksh. 500. Equity is currently supporting five clinics which are in Thika, Buru Buru, Ongata Rongai, Kayole, and Kawangware.