An Innovative- Driven Collaboration Towards Healthcare Access in Rural Kenya
In a world budding with digital and technological innovations, comes a cutting edge system centered around healthcare: the BandaGo System. The software is developed and provided by Banda Health, a Public Charity Organization co-founded by Dr. Steve Letchford, aimed at addressing an urgent need in kenya: improving healthcare access to vulnerable communities in rural areas.
Their targets are clinics based in rural low income earning areas, where people often have a difficult time accessing quality healthcare.
“A major challenge to running my clinic is that most people aren’t always able to pay for the healthcare services. This is due to the fact that the clinic is based in a low income earning community, which means that people don’t always have the extra money to pay for healthcare services.” – Dr. David Kinyua, Founder and Director of Emmanuel Community Health Clinic.
A clinic can opt to operate on a low margin basis, but with ineffective management practices, even patients that pay on time can’t help keep it open for long. This is where BandaGo comes in, by offering a solution to a management problem that trickles into enhancing healthcare access and provision.
Mr Haron Wachira, CEO of Akili group states that, ”BandaGo is a system that a clinic uses to record all the details of a patient’s information, such as their illnesses, working both administratively and from a clinical point of view.”
The BandaGo System gives a clinic the ability to keep and track records, patient- related or otherwise, including financial ones. The result? A highly organized and well-run clinic that can easily access a patient’s historical medical information at the touch of a button, quickly diagnose and address patient illnesses, and maintain a well-stocked inventory.
In other words, it automates a clinic’s operations, easing the load on the administrative and clinical legwork so that rural clinics which are often underfunded, can focus on their core business – the needs of their patients. It’s the magic wand to finally describe your clinic as reliable, fast and efficient.
2022 saw the initialization of partnership between Banda Health and Akili Group – through a symbiotic partnership that aligns with Banda Go’s Mission to improve access and quality of healthcare in rural Kenya and Akili’s Mission to improve the quality of life for rural families in its target areas of operation.
“Our partnership with Banda Health is part of our commitment to dramatically improve, in a positive way, the life of the rural communities that we work with.” – Mr Haron Wachira, CEO of Akili group.
By the end of 2022, two clinics`had but-fully integrated the BandaGo software as a Management System.
Among the two clinics is Emmanuel Community Health Clinic based in Kiamariga Market, Karatina in Nyeri County. The clinic, which was founded in 2009 by Dr. David Kinyua, is run by a support staff made up of a front desk officer, cashier, record holder and a watchman. Dr Kinyua is also joined by three nurses and his wife – a clinician – who all work on a temporary basis.
“I have around three nurses who interchange depending on their availability. When they’re off duty, we organize for them to come and assist us. This may result in one nurse assisting us this week, and another assisting us the next.” – Dr. David Kinyua, Founder and Director of Emmanuel Community Health Clinic. This leaves Dr. Kinyua short on hands, which of course, is disadvantageous to running his clinic.
According to him, “Before incorporating the system, there was always a problem in terms of accessing medical and patient information. For instance, I was the only one who knew how much each drug at the clinic cost. This meant that, even while treating patients and running the clinic, I’d have to constantly be the person to provide information to the nurses….” explained Dr. David Kinyua.
However, since integrating the BandaGo Management system, he has been able to improve the efficiency of his clinic.
“Playing all those roles was very tedious. However, thanks to the BandaGo System, I am now able to delegate, giving me more time to focus on other things, such as my patients.” – Dr David Kinyua
No more searching for records under a pile of documents, or having to deal with lost bills. It’s all in one system: BandaGo. Accessible at the touch of a button, even from the comfort of your own home.
“I can access the System from anywhere, as long as I am connected to the internet. This allows me to oversee things even from home!”
Only a month since integrating the software to his clinic, Dr. Kinyua attests to its efficiency and simplicity in use. “It’s not a complicated software to use; it’s simple and is able to meet the requirements of running a clinic.”
Impressed by the software, Dr Kinyua has not only spread the word about it to other clinics in his area, he’s integrated it into his other clinic that’s based in Nyeri – Emmanuel Community Health Clinic Nyeri Satellite.
Akili Group also recently partnered with Kijabe Medical Health Centre, joining in their Community Health Extension work. Kijabe Medical Health Centre was very impressed by BandaGo’s ability to keep track of patients’ attendance, as well as its ability to record a patient’s current and historical medical records.Such information not only allows them to have a reference point when treating a patient, but it also allows them to specifically identify the healthcare needs of a certain rural community, making preventive healthcare possible.
The system is also integrating with other software that boasts features such as predictive diagnosis. This will give a Medical practitioner information on, for example, what kind of tests to run, alternative tests to consider, and questions to ask based on a patient’s symptoms.In other words, to aid in the provision of accurate medical information and advice.
“This is extremely important because many of the healthcare service providers in rural Kenya are often nurses who may not always be highly qualified. Therefore, having access to a system that is linked to large databases of medical information, makes it possible for them to have higher levels of interactions with a patient.” – Mr Haron Wachira.
Banda Health aims to add their software to over 100 clinics by the end of 2023.
According to Mr Haron Wachira, “We hope to have the BandGo System and the Kijabe Hospital Community Health Programme availed to every clinic around the areas of our operations – the Mount Kenya region – in our working with almost 300,000 households.”
Since the installation of the BandaGo software, the Emmanuel Health Clinic has increased the number of patients they attend to daily. The number has markedly increased from 5 to 8 patients per day, which is a 37.5% increase – a notable improvement given the short timeframe since installation of the software.
It’s clear, through this partnership, the vision for a brighter future for rural healthcare in Akili target areas is now within reach. If, for example, 20 clinics serving 5 patients per day incorporated the Software into their clinics, 100 patients would be more accurately diagnosed and treated. That translates to 100 people, whose lives have been improved through quality healthcare access.
The need for the software is undeniable, and its impact difficult to ignore. Akili Group is excited to be a part of such a crucial partnership, and is looking forward to helping improve the lives of many more Kenyan rural households, one step at a time.