Penda Health sets out to disrupt Kenyan healthcare system

Recently Penda Health officially opened their first clinic in Kitengela, half an hour drive from Nairobi, Kenya. As this startup of Stephanie Kozcela, Beatrice Ngoche and Nicholas Sowden is part of the first VC4Africa Booster Programme, we went there and met with the team.

Coming from Nairobi, the clinic is situated on the right side of the main road of Kitengela. Penda employees are welcoming people who are passing by to take a look in the building and meet with the Penda Health team. Inside there are different rooms where patients can be examined. Everyone who is interested gets a tour and can ask questions.

Penda Health is especially targeting women who formerly needed to travel to Kajiado or Nairobi for a health check. And with the growing number of female workers in the garment industry of Kitengela, it seems to be a good location for their first clinic. It is estimated that there are 20.000 people working in the textile sector, of which 85% is female. Kenya is part of the African Growth and Oppurtunity Act (AGOA) which allows a number of African countries to export a list of products to the United Stated without import taxes.

I spoke to Stephanie (second from the right on the picture) two weeks after the event and asked her these questions: 

Congrats with the official opening of your first clinic! How did you experience the day of the official opening?

“The day was such a blast! It was a huge team effort by everyone at Penda Health and attended well by members of the community. We’ve seen an up tick in the number of clients per day since the launch so we feel it was a successful day!”

What has happened since we interviewed you in February?

“Penda opened this first clinic in February and has seen over 400 patients since! We’ve hired clinical staff, administrative staff, attracted some seed funding, and lined up a number of the partnerships we need to transform healthcare in Kenya. We are learning fast on marketing strategies, medical quality assurance, and how to work with medical equipment and consumables suppliers.”

You were part of the VC4A Venture Booster Programme. How do you look back at this?

“The Booster Programme helped us get our business plan tightened up and helped us look at the structure of our financials. But unfortunately did not help us with funding yet, which is a big need!”

What can you tell us about this process of finding investors?

“We have a number of individuals who have made donations and/or small investments in the business. We have yet to secure an institutional investor though it seems as though that opportunity is getting closer every day. It’s certainly been a difficult process as it seems that most investors are looking to make larger investments and they are looking to invest in later stage companies.”

There’s currently a big scandal in the Kenyan press about the NHIF. How does this affect your business?

“NHIF paying for outpatient medical services would be an enormous help to low/middle income families in Kenya. This scandal increases the likelihood that access to these key services are delayed for years. We are very disappointed on behalf of the Kenyan families.”

What are your plans for the coming 6 months?

“We will continue to search for early stage investors to fund our pilot stage, open one or two more clinics, hire a CFO, and continue to work to revolutionize healthcare in Kenya!”

View more pictures of the opening on the Penda Health Facebook page.