WHP Kenya launched its operations in Homa Bay County in June 2015. The first project was the establishment of a franchisee network of women entrepreneurs (Sky Centres), who use a simple but sophisticated technological platform to connect with city-based medical personnel for tele-consultations that focus on primary healthcare. The telemedicine intervention was launched using available funds under the Skoll Foundation’s social entrepreneur award.
Beginning August 2016, WHP set up its own chain of nurse-based tele-linked medical units (Maisha Clinics) with support from the Pfizer Foundation. Trained nurses at the Maisha clinics provide reproductive, maternal and child health services to rural and peri-urban communities who otherwise have limited access to formal medical services. The Maisha clinics harness the pool of under- or unemployed nurses available in Kenya who are willing to work in areas with few or no doctors.
Nurses at the Maisha clinics provide simple services on their own and refer the complex cases to city based doctors through WHP’s Althea electronic system. The Althea system is designed for extremely low resource settings and helps the remote doctors obtain vital parameters with which they can provide good quality services. The Althea system includes blood pressure instrument, cardiogram, pulse oximeter, glucometer, haemoglobin meter, foetal doppler and electronic stethoscope. There are options to add more diagnostic tools. The system requires only 2G connectivity which makes its deployment potentially universal.
Government-trained Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), five of whom on an average are attached to each Maisha Clinic, provide community linkage for registration and referral of clients.
WHP currently has 12 Sky Centres and three Maisha clinics and on an average serves 800 clients a month. About 80% of the clients are women and children who are WHP’s mandated focus. An internal study to understand the equity of services has indicated that the clinics largely serve the poor with about 90% living below the national poverty line. Exit surveys to assess client satisfaction indicate 97% overall satisfaction. 99% reporting prompt service and 99% assuring recommendation of the services to a family member or friend. Overall, 79% like the clinic services mostly on account of affordability, cleanliness and counselling support to explain the condition or procedure.