Tech firm M-Tiba gives healthcare in Kenya, Africa shot in the arm

Rustem Tolstobrov

Kenyan digital health platform M-Tiba has witnessed rapid growth since it was launched six years ago, underlining the high demand for quality healthcare in the country and across Africa.

The platform currently boasts more than 4.7million subscribers across Africa and has on-boarded about 3,124 healthcare providers.

The rapid rise in the number of users has been attributed to the high demand for quality health services in Kenya and across Africa.

Moses G. Kuria, Managing Director at M-TIBA said the growth of the platform has also been driven by the affordable services it offers.

 “Access to quality healthcare was a challenge for many with the main friction areas being affordability and accessibility,” he notes.

 “To help solve this, this affordable innovative platform was designed to allow everyone and especially the low income earners access quality health care easily and convenient through technology.”

M-Tiba, he says, has simplified access to healthcare and the registration process for patients, adding that charges for registration and transfer of funds into one’s account were removed enabling low-income individuals with no active health insurance covers to cater for their medical emergencies.

“With M-Tiba the previous narrative of no access to healthcare where only one out of five of the population had some form of financial protection due to prohibitive healthcare costs is now a thing of the past,” Kuria says.

Through the platform, individuals get to enjoy quality, affordable health insurance covers from as low as Sh4661 per year. The plans can cover families, chama members, saccos, and SMEs’ teams.

Kuria says access to adequate basic healthcare for most Kenyans and their families has now become a reality with the overreliance on the overstretched public services and expensive private healthcare becoming a thing of the past

The platform which was launched in 2016, also enable users to send, save, and spend funds specifically for medical treatment using their mobile phones.

The main aim of the medical solution, Kuria says is to transform the health sector through provision of quality but affordable treatment and medication.

Statistics in developing countries paint a depressing picture on the cost of healthcare. Patients spend billions yearly in out-of-pocket health care expenses, with poor households pushed deeper into misery when their loved ones fall sick.

Studies reveal that over 51 percent of Kenyans do not have access to medical insurance covers making access to quality and affordable healthcare an impossibility.

Mr Kuria says M-Tiba is looking to expand its services, by cultivating partnerships with digital innovators, healthcare providers, and insurers.

The innovation has leveraged the high level of mobile phone penetration which stands at more than 95 per cent for its growth.

To further enhance timely and efficient access to quality healthcare for all, M-Tiba has also partnered with the Medical Credit Fund, that is dedicated to financing small and medium-sized healthcare businesses in Africa.

Through this partnership, healthcare providers can take a cash advance without providing collateral allowing them to meet their financial obligations, be profitable, and deliver excellent service to Kenyans in an efficient and timely manner. More than 400 health SMEs in Kenya are already benefiting from this partnership.

According to Kuria, the platform which currently has employed 147 people targets the uncovered Kenyans who pay for healthcare out-of-pocket

Though a success, access and affordability of healthcare insurance has, historically, been a challenge.

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