African innovation scores wins at 2018 MIT Solve Global Challenge finals

Access Afya runs a chain of micro-clinics in Nairobi’s informal settlements. The startup was founded in 2012 by Melissa Menke. Access Afya’s Akiba ya Roho initiative — a comprehensive diabetes and hypertension management programme — scored the social enterprise a place on the 2018 MIT Solver class.

African innovation scores wins at 2018 MIT Solve Global Challenge finals

Akiba ya Roho (Melissa Menke, Kenya): Access Afya’s Akiba ya Roho programme helps trained community members conduct mass non-communicable disease screenings in slums with a mobile app which guides users through a series of simple health questions, and community members take basic measurements like blood sugar and pressure.

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Access Afya Kenya is developing and testing a revolutionary approach that aims to put nutrient monitoring into the hands of mothers using the non-invasive technique of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Fingernail scanning can be done by mothers at home, and results are instantaneous and easy to interpret. With the 1000 Day Nutrient Monitor, each mother can repeatedly analyse her and her baby’s nutrient levels, informing proactive diet changes.

Pharmacy lifeline in Kenya

Newsday’s Alan Kasujja visited an organisation which is trying to change that. ‘Access Afya’, runs three micro clinics and two pharmacies which service thirty thousand people in Nairobi’s informal settlements.

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In light of the gap left by formal healthcare systems and in an effort to cater to the largely underserved population of Nairobi’s informal areas, Access Afya is a chain of three clinics located in the capital’s largest slums.

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This social enterprise runs a chain of micro-clinics across Nairobi’s informal settlements together with a “Healthy Schools” program. Both allow healthcare for the people who need it most, children and the very poor. The health system in Nairobi is often too expensive for many to access otherwise, and the services provided by Access Afya are priced to be affordable, while the school program delivers check-ups, treatments and training. Six schools are currently enrolled in the program, according to Access Afya’s blog, and a new health care package is being launched that includes:free medications and lab tests
regular doctor’s visits during deworming sessions at schools
a health club membership
a comprehensive check-up at the beginning of every term
extended hospital-stay insurance and fire insurance (fires are common in informal settlements)

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Access Afya sells basic healthcare services and supplies via high-tech mini-clinics to poor Kenyans, whose current healthcare options are unpleasant, unreliable, or unaffordable. “The organization has proved that the poor will pay for healthcare if it is superior to the low-quality status quo and offered at a price point that is still affordable,” says CEO Melissa Menke. “We found that price ceiling to be around $5 per visit, and we have over 7,000 clients at this level.”

Access Afya

Interview: Access Afya

Updates: 01/31/2018 : Pharmacy lifeline in Kenya 12/21/2017: Urban Health In Slums Between Addis Ababa And Nairobi 12/31/2016: 2016 Annual Report Interview from 2013 by Madeline Parrish: Access Afya is bringing quality affordable …