Translatable Lessons from the Kenyan Healthcare Landscape

Translational models of primary care: Understanding the replicability and scalability of high impact private sector business models for low-cost primary care, developed and implemented in Kenya, within the South African healthcare landscape.

The latest report from the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship details the health systems in Kenya, innovative health business models operating in the country, and recommendations for adaptation of these models to the South African context. The report draws on the CHMI Adaptation Framework to analyze and understand programs' active ingredients, and relies on interviews with key stakeholders in the Kenyan health environment. Read the executive summary below, and download the report here.


South African policy makers can take advantage of the lessons learned from the Kenyan health care system, and its relationship with the private healthcare sector. By breaking down the siloes that exist within the sectors of health care delivery, an open dialogue can be created that will promote transparency, build trust, and ensure the recognition that across the sectors there exists similar agendas; focused on providing health care to all members of the national population.

There are many different mechanisms and models that have been and can be used to stimulate participation by the private healthcare sector in supporting and supplementing the goals of the public sector. There will always be those healthcare consumers who fall at either end of the healthcare provision network, i.e. solely private or solely public, but there is a gap which may be characterized as the lower-middle class or the working poor. The individuals who exist within that economic band are able to purchase primary care services from the private sector using discretionary funds while still not being able to afford or being willing to purchase healthcare insurance.

Coordination of care would relieve the burden on a system that is suffering from severe capacity constraints, would provide support through leadership and mentoring to those health care providers and ultimately allow for the optimal delivery of patient-centered care. Learning from the lessons provided by the Kenyan healthcare system, it is arguable that private sector healthcare providers – whether Kenyan or South African – are ready to provide priority health services to underserved populations who have evidenced the willingness to pay for this care provision. However, this opportunity must be supported by policies and market conditions that will allow private healthcare providers to support the goals of the South African National Health Insurance plan.