Unjani’s clinics iare made in South Africa from converted second hand shipping containers and have a basic design which means a site can be created, from order to commission, in just four weeks. Each unit is made and fitted out so that once it is delivered, it can be up and running within one day. All units have toilets, electricity and running water.
The 12 meter clinic provides consultations at a cost of between R100 and R150 per patient – Imperial Health Services (HIS) sets a maximum price for their franchisees but not a minimum. The number of patients seen per month varies between the network of 7 clinics, with the largest clinic seeing 400 to 500 patients per month. Each Unjani Clinic has an outside reception area, examination room, toilet and a dispensary for medicines at a local community center. In addition, each Unjani clinic has a registered nurse practitioner (who is licensed to diagnose and dispense schedule 1-4 medicines) and an administrative assistant.
IHS and partners support franchisees for a period of 5 years by providing initial and growth capital, establishing infrastructure (12m converted shipping container) with all medical equipment and other furnishings required to operate, and providing business skills training (specifically financial management and marketing training). The set-up costs for a container are R300,000. Over a 5 year period the franchisee (nurse practitioner) pays back 50% of this R300,000 and the ownership of the unit transfers by 20% each year. (i.e. 20% ownership in year 1, 40% ownership in year 2, etc.).
IHS also helps the clinics to manage supplier applications. For example, HIS helps negotiate relationships with critical supplies such as wholesalers or medical waste removers who would not typically with such small businesses.
Each Unjani Clinic is registered as a business (normally in the form of a Pty Ltd). In order to expand their reach, Unjani has collaborated with local schools and taxi associations to carry out various marketing campaigns.
Expansion in Size and Services
Unjani now has a total of seven fully functioning clinics, having launched four in February 2013. Furthermore, starting in March 2013, Unjani has collaborated with VisionSpring for a six month trial to provide affordable high-quality eye care to their patients. As of Spring 2013, each clinic is providing vision screenings at R50 per patient and sells prescription glasses and non-prescription sunglasses to be purchased at R50 and R100 respectively.
As of April 2013, sustainability of the business model is being proved based on the 7 pilot models. By this time, all clinics have been able to achieve an average patient volume of 180 patients per month, or 8 patient consultations per day (although they are in varying stages of year 1). Patient volumes have indicated that there will be incremental growth as increased awareness around the clinic is built within communities. All clinics have been able to maintain a cash flow positive status, and pay salaries and critical suppliers (drug wholesaler, medical waste collection and laboratories) on a monthly basis. None of the franchisees have defaulted on their franchise payments. It has been observed that clinics actively pursuing additional revenue streams, such as over-the-counter sales, have further strengthened their positive cash flow status.
Unjani is looking for additional funding to expand the number of clinics operating in their network. Unjani already plans to open an additional clinic in the summer of 2013 with their own funding, and hope to reach a total of 40 to 100 by the end of the year. In the long term, Unjani sees the potential to grow to 200 clinics.