A health clinic offering women affordable health care services has received nearly  $100,000 (8.4 million shillings) from six US and local investors to expand its business.

Penda Health a startup  which began operation  in February has served more than 1,000 patients and is now targeting to open over fifty clinics in East Africa over the next five.

The clinic received funding from Eleos Foundation, an American group, and G7, a local investment company.

“We aim to be self-sustaining, and believe that in order to develop over 50 sustainable locations within the next five years, we need to operate as a for-profit company and generate significant returns. We do not want to become dependent and bloated on grant funding, which will compromise our mission of providing access to healthcare for all Kenyans.” said Nicholas Sowden, one of Penda Health’s co-founders.

Penda Health’s first clinic is located in Kitengela about 35km outside of Nairobi.

“During the course of our market research, we were shocked at the severe lack of quality and affordable options for most Kenyans. Too often, people have to see unqualified doctors who misdiagnose patients, have old equipment and drugs, and are sometimes rude to patients and make them wait for extended periods before treating them,” said Sowden.

According to Sowden, the few high-quality options charge prices reserved for the upper classes. The only options available to most families are poorly staffed single-provider clinics, which are often unqualified and under stocked to serve the market.

“Many Kenyans are treated extremely poorly and feel stigmatized by the system,” explains Beatrice Ngoche, also a co-founder.

The clinic focuses on outpatient care with an emphasis on preventative services and women’s health. Aside from general consultations, Penda’s clinics offer STI, cervical cancer and breast cancer screenings.

Aside from the lack of quality service offerings, a number of clinics catering to most people lack the necessary systems that enable them to expand and ensure quality.

“What we found during our research is that many clinics, for example, are often out of stock of essential medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. They just have no way of managing their inventory,” explains Stephanie Koczela, the third Penda Health co-founder.

To address this, Penda has developed a proprietary inventory management system that it is in the process of rolling out that tracks drug dispensing and alerts users when drugs need to be re-stocked. Aside from the inventory system, Penda also uses an SMS-based communications platform to send messages, such as health tips and prescription reminders to patients.

“These systems will help us maintain Penda’s quality as we expand across East Africa,” said Koczela.

Image via nextbillion

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