Grameen Foundation, MicroEnsure, and Penda Health have launched a new health insurance product that is aimed to cater for low income individual and families in Kenya.
“The initiative, called the “Uzima Project”, will focus on providing low-income people access to high quality health services and financing, along with a messaging and reminders service that encourages users to adopt healthy habits and practices,” the announcement detailed.
“It will be one of the first projects to develop an integrated package that provides low-cost healthcare financing and targeted health communications via mobile phones.”
Grameen Foundation will pilot test the product in and around Nairobi through the Penda Health centres. Grameen will then create health messages through MOTECH, an open source technology platform owned by them. The programme will also encapsulate medical workers to remind them of patient’s schedules.
Technology has opened up opportunities to bring banking and health services closer to the people. Last year, Safaricom launched, Linda Jamii an insurance product for low income earners.
“Without affordable healthcare, millions of low-income Kenyans cannot access routine services and they also run the risk of minor health issues turning into catastrophes that send them deeper into poverty. Through this collaboration with MicroEnsure, Penda Health and the global law firm Clifford Chance, we will develop a model for addressing this crisis and opportunity by enabling low-income households to take charge of their health care more than they have ever been able to do before,” said Alex Counts, president and CEO of Grameen Foundation.
Nearly 75 percent of Kenyans do not have insurance cover. Most is because of the cost related to the mainstream providers and lack of information on how insurance works in most rural areas.
“One of patients’ biggest challenges in accessing healthcare is that they often don’t have cash when they fall ill. There is even a saying in Kiswahili that says sickness comes when your pockets are empty,” Stephanie Koczela, Penda’s Cofounder and Managing Director said.
“The Uzima project will design a solution that allows Kenyan families to access quality care when they need it and will educate and encourage them to be proactive with their health. We couldn’t be more excited to have great partners as we embark on tackling this problem.”