KENYA: GE to equip hospitals based on M-Pesa data


Small and medium private hospitals using M-Pesa and M-Tiba pay-platforms can now acquire medical equipment on loan from GE Healthcare on the strength of their financial history.

The US-based medical equipment manufacturer has sealed a deal with the Medical Credit Fund (MCF) to enable the healthcare providers’ creditworthiness to be gauged on the volumes of transactions recorded on the platforms.

Speaking during the Radiology Clinical Day organised by GE Healthcare and the Kenya Association of Radiologists (KAR), GE Healthcare East Africa general manager Andrew Waititu said the firm is seeking to develop new delivery models to improve access to modern medical equipment thereby improving patients’ health.

“As we progress towards universal healthcare coverage, we will continue enhancing our collaboration with MCF (part of the PharmAccess Group) is a significant step towards the attainment of this goal,” he said.

This is a departure from the traditional norm where businesses sought loans from banks to pay for costly medical equipment. Times have changed with banks declining to grant loans owing to the interest capping law, resulting in disintermediation (removal of lenders as intermediaries).

PharmAccess Foundation Kenya country director Isaiah Okoth welcomed the development, saying innovative financing models and technical support to healthcare SMEs was key to improving access and quality of healthcare services offered underserved populations.

“Together with GE Healthcare, we are looking at social entrepreneurship in the healthcare space as an entry point to strengthen the healthcare system and to support the achievement of UHC goals,” he said.

The new strategy provides GE Healthcare a new avenue to sell its products to Kenyan hospitals where MCF will provide access to mobile-based lending and business improvement programmes to the eligible healthcare providers.

Qualifying hospitals that offer a broad array of primary care services, largely with an explicit focus on family and mother-child care will access up to Sh10 million loan with a repayment period of two years.

Among the early beneficiaries is Trinity Care Centre that acquired a GE ultrasound machine that helped them improve services offered leading to an increase in patient numbers by 40 percent.