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Innovative practice

Curafa™ programme establishes primary healthcare centers in Kenya

Aim:

To bring integrated range of affordable healthcare services, including nursing and pharmacy, to underserved populations.

Model:

Local primary healthcare facilities that provide pharmacy and nursing services, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and access to insurance schemes and healthcare financing.

Partners:

Amref Health Africa.

Scale-up:

Not applicable (established in 2018).

Curafa is a healthcare platform based on an innovative business model, targeting underserved populations in remote areas of Kenya. The initiative is being piloted by Merck KGaA, which leads a multi-partner collaboration with Amref Health Africa (formerly the African Medical and Research Foundation) along with government and development agencies, NGOs and private healthcare innovators.

Established in early 2018, Curafa plans to increase awareness, availability, accessibility and affordability for healthcare and medicine, and to help healthcare providers collaborate in improving quality of life for people with health issues. The initiative looks to open facilities that make primary healthcare available, train community health workers on key health issues, and strengthen referral processes in communities.

Merck KGaA's Curafa™ facilities offer a range of services and resources for rural communities. ©Merck KGaA/Boris Hesser

What does the Curafa model offer?
Initially, Curafa is setting up five primary healthcare facilities in the Kenyan counties of Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, Makueni and Mombasa. These will provide each of five essential elements: pharmacy and nursing services, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, digital health solutions (for example, using online services to offer consultation and diagnosis for certain diseases), insurance schemes and financing for healthcare, and facilities such as WiFi and social spaces. Each facility will offer a pharmaceutical clinical service, giving access to over-the-counter and prescription medicines, and consumables. Facilities will look to raise awareness of health, and Curafa has initiated a process to train 45 community health workers to spot signs of hypertension, asthma, diabetes, trachoma, dengue fever and cholera.

The five pilot facilities will also offer online primary health services, including opportunities to consult doctors remotely. Planned digital solutions include electronic tablets loaded with artificial intelligence software, to be used by individuals for diagnosis with support from nurses. Facilities will make available financing solutions such as health insurance, and communications services (internet and WiFi, cell-phone charging, television and radio). Merck KGaA estimates its initial Curafa facilities will be sustainable within five years.


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