As the world gears towards achieving the United Nation’s Goal 3 of ensuring the human race remains healthy, the same is already being witnessed in Kenya, thanks to Equity Bank.
This is a vital goal that seeks to promote the well-being of everybody at all ages as this is very vital to sustainable development.
According to the UN, great strides have been achieved in reducing common killers with child and maternal mortality, adding that to hit the target of less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030 ‘would require improvements in skilled delivery care.’
This is already being undertaken by Equity Bank through its Equity Group Foundation (EGF) Health pillar, established in 2015.
At the establishment, there are 11 clinics that sought to address the growing need for affordable and accessible health care for citizens across the country.
To get successful in this venture, according to available information seen by Khusoko, the health facilities cater for outpatients and are run by qualified and accredited medical doctors who are, another first, mostly alumnus of the Equity Africa Leaders and Wings to Fly initiatives.
The Equity Afia, a sustainable, integrated health model that is using franchising principles to train and monitor a network of Medical-Entrepreneurs to provide standardized, quality and affordable healthcare services throughout Kenya.
The centers are currently operational in 15 medical centres in 7 counties and has plans to venture into other regions as the year progresses. In Nairobi County, Equity Afia operates clinics in Buruburu, Kayole, Kawangware, Kahawa West, Utawala, Embakasi and in CBD along Biashara Street.
In Kiambu County, the franchise has clinics in Kikuyu, Thika and Ruiru and operates another clinic in Ongata Rongai, which is in Kajiado County. Outside Nairobi and its outskirts, Equity Afia has operational clinics in Nyeri, Nakuru, Kakamega and Meru Counties.
EGF has plans to open at least 1000 franchises across the country as it seeks to serve over 150000 it already has since the inception of the Afia health centers.
With this, the lender will have helped bridge the existing gaps in areas that need quality healthcare in a bid to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended doctor-patient ratio of 1:1000.
At the moment Kenya’s doctor-patient ratio stands at 1:6000, totally unrecommended.
In line with the Universal Health Coverage goals, the Equity Afia medical centres have been established with the sole purpose of increasing access to quality healthcare services by offering quality and standardized services at affordable costs.
The management of the clinics is done by medical doctor entrepreneurs who were beneficiaries of Wings to Fly and the Equity Leaders Program (ELP). The Equity Afia clinics are also providing a platform for alumni of the Equity Leaders Program (ELP) who are qualified health professionals to join the franchise and use their health expertise to transform lives and livelihoods of Kenyans.
The clinics offer general consultation services, specialized clinics like obstetrics and gynecology, well-baby clinics, dental services, optical services, dermatological services, paediatric services, and nutrition services among others and are supported by well-equipped laboratories and stocked pharmacies.
Equity Group Foundation Executive Director, Reuben Mbindu says in ensuring they live up to their goal, “We are keen on ensuring that all Kenyans enjoy access to quality medical outpatient and referral services. Our clinics are NHIF accredited and we also accept a large number of insurance cards as well as out of pocket payment. This diversity allows Kenyans from all walks of life to enjoy access to quality treatment with ease and at affordable costs.”
The lender has also hit a first in the education sector with its flagship scholarship program that has benefited many across the country. Today, the lender boasts of a total of 519 global scholars. As at November 2019, a total of 56 scholars were admitted to top tier universities under the Equity Leaders Program (ELP).
The lender has pumped in about KSH 12 billion into the programme.
In 2020, during its 11th intake, EGF said it would be investing Ksh 3 billion to send at least a hundred students to global universities.
David B. Zoogah and Christian Wolf in ‘Equity Bank: A high-impact Entrepreneurial Turnaround Story’, edited by Dana Redford, write that the EGF has fully transformed the concept of philanthropy and corporate social-economic responsibility.
“Equity Group Foundation advances the socio-economic transformation of the people of Africa, with entrepreneurs directly benefiting from the foundation’s entrepreneurship education program.”
Khusoko understands that of the 56 scholars, 15 are alumni of Wings to Fly programme with an impressive score of Grade A. the rest were top KCSES students who are enrolled in the ELP every year.
Of the 56, three will be joining Harvard, two Princeton, one in Cornell University of Pennsylvania will host two, Massachusetts Institute of Technology will get two, while one will be joining the Amherst and another will be joining John Hopkins.
The above universities are based in Canada, Slovakia, United States (US), Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea, Hungary and Russia.
“In the course of this journey, you will encounter challenges like language barriers and cultural differences. I encourage you to overcome these difficulties and embrace the new environment with courage and open-mindedness.
“Your host community, Equity Group, the local community as well as your parents are supporting you and expecting a lot from you.
I am confident that you will make all of us proud,” said Dr. James Mwangi, the CEO.
These scholars, will not only be dispatched to get knowledge but will be facilitated financially with all of them getting a stipend of between KSH 100,000 and KSH 200,000. This money will be used for air tickets and their shopping.
Definitely, this program has and continues to impact positively on the lives of many Kenyans and thus changing their fortunes and in the processing addressing and solving a myriad of challenges the county faces daily.
“I was a kid who had been raised in a slum where literally no one recognized who I was. When the Wings to Fly Program sponsored me, I was challenged to work hard and I did well in high school. I joined the Equity Leaders Program thereafter and the resilience, mentorship and leadership journey I was taken through by the program has prepared me for where I’m headed. This is all because someone took a chance on me and I am grateful to Equity and its partners in the ELP program.”
Another scholar, Samuel Gari, headed to Princeton University said, “My dream to create sustainable energy and waste management in Kenya is still alive thanks to this program that has really guided and encouraged me. I’m happy to be joining Princeton this fall, where I’m certain I will get the skills to fulfill my dream thanks to the mentorship I derived from the ELP program. ”
Started in 1998, ELP admits the top-performing boy and girl in the KCSE exams from each sub-county in Kenya and Wings to Fly scholars who score “A” in the national exams.
The program aims at empowering young academically gifted scholars by supporting their access to education in public universities in Kenya and around the globe, as well as equipping them with leadership skills.
To date, ELP has benefited 17,304. scholars who are currently studying both locally and abroad or are alumni of various universities.
ELP scholars have distinguished themselves as mentors and role models to secondary school students during their semester breaks to inspire and encourage students to aim at academic excellence.
They also take leadership positions in their universities and in their communities where they participate in decision making.
ELP global scholars usually return to Kenya from their universities abroad during their summer holidays to team up with their colleagues in local universities and spend their time mentoring the incoming ELP scholars on how to apply for college admissions, as well as preparing them for life in universities locally or abroad.