Akiba ya Roho, is a mobile health savings wallet solution developed to encourage healthcare inclusion and awareness among low income communities to assist them to save money for their future healthcare needs.
The medical service delivery concept runs on a mobile platform and allows people to save money for healthcare to encourage adherence to treatment and to change patients’ health seeking behaviours. The money saved in the mobile wallet can be used at Access Afya clinics for management and control of the patients’ conditions.
Boehringer Ingelheim will fund vouchers that cover 100% of the cost of the initial screening as well as incentives that go towards reducing the cost of the next clinic visit, which patients can use across Access Afya clinics. Moreover, for every follow up visit, Boehringer Ingelheim will further incentivize the next visit up to 40% of the cost of a visit at Access Afya.
Patients were screened for diabetes and hypertension, free of charge, in mobile clinics and through the Access Afya network with an objective to register them into the micro saving plans via the mobile health wallet. The program aims at screening 10,000 patients via its network of micro clinics.
According to Dr. Eduardo Lioy, representative of Boehringer Ingelheim, an Executive in Residence in Kenya for the Program development said, “Most Kenyans do not have access to adequate basic healthcare for themselves or their families. They either rely on public services, which are often overstretched, or on private healthcare, which may not be affordable. At the same time, the unprecedented rise in mobile phone usage represents a strong opportunity to make healthcare more accessible through the digitalization of healthcare services via mobile phone connectivity. This new innovative platform helps connect patients with the right healthcare services and ensures that they can receive affordable healthcare in Kenya, with the encouragement of adhering to treatments and changing patients’ health seeking behaviours.”
“At Boehringer Ingelheim, we remain committed to driving stronger health outcomes to address a range of challenges that include general lack of awareness around priority chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and aim to provide access when it comes to providing screening and treatment for those who are in need,” added Dr. Lioy.
Millicent Olulo, Country Director at PharmAccess Foundation said “We believe that mobile health has the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery. We are pleased with the rollout of this new initiative that aims at helping people across low income communities take control of their health. The micro-savings wallet encourages patients to adhere to treatments and follow-ups. This product provides the technical platform to allow individuals to send, save and spend funds for medical treatment and savings management, in an effort to ensure long-term health benefits while also offering screening and management of NCDs. When successful, we hope to scale it for all patients that currently use M-TIBA.”
Across Kenya, community awareness around diabetes and hypertension is low including on information on where to seek trustworthy healthcare services even though the urban slum populations in Africa are growing faster than national populations and health strategies that focus on NCDs in this segment of the population are generally lacking. Hypertension is now the most common cardiovascular problem in Africa with an estimated that more than 20 million people are affected. The prevention and control of NCDs has now been as identified as priority issues in the Kenyan Government’s National Medium Term Plan (2014-2018) and National Health Strategic Plan (2014-2018).
Boehringer Ingelheim, iSikCure, also falling under the umbrella of ‘MMH’. This is a subscription free project that aims to improve access levels to quality care and safe medicine across Kenya. The service runs on a mobile application and offers a holistic and convenient approach, with a range of benefits for both patients and providers.