Equity Group Holdings has begun hiring health professionals ahead of plans to help some 300 doctors open a chain of clinics across Kenya, as the lender seeks to cash in on the increased demand for healthcare.
The Nairobi bourse listed bank is currently recruiting a chief nursing officer, chief laboratory technologist, finance manager and an IT manager to set up and support a network of health centres linked to ‘Equity Afia’ health insurance.
The ‘Equity Afia’ chain of clinics will offer diagnostic services, laboratory tests, outpatient care, pharmacy dispensing, dental services and health screening to individuals and companies.
The health business will be run as a franchised network under the bank’s social arm — Equity Group Foundation (EGF) — which the regional lender says will offer “affordable and high quality” healthcare.
“Manage and maintain high quality of nursing care, as well as contributing to the development of policies and operating procedures in nursing care in line with the set standards, to contribute to overall hospital profitability,” reads the job description for the chief nursing officer.
Kenya’s annual healthcare spending is estimated at Sh114.2 billion according to a study by Open Capital Advisors.
Equity says it “wishes to develop a network of health facilities, with different levels, across the country. EGF is seeking to hire a management team that will oversee operations of this network of health facilities,” Equity Bank said in a notice.
The bank’s diversification into the health business will be a first for a Kenyan bank, and comes barely a year after the lender acquired a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) license to roll out telecom services such as voice, data and mobile banking.
The health professionals will help Equity to design and manage the medical centres.
The chief lab technologist will be tasked with “developing quality standards across the laboratories in the network” while the finance manager will be responsible for “implementing financial management strategies, systems and controls for the optimal growth and profitability of Equity Afia health centres.”
Equity is banking on technology to automate healthcare services at its clinics, a job that will be assigned to the IT manager.
The entry into healthcare business is expected to boost the lender’s bancassurance business by designing medical cover packages acceptable at the Equity Afia clinics.
The bank’s chain of clinics will be run under a franchising model, implying that the lender may not own all the Equity Afia outlets but will offer support services for those wishing to set up such centres.
“EGF, a non-profit-making operating foundation registered in Kenya, plans to execute a sustainable, integrated health model that uses a franchise approach to provide standardised, quality health care,” the bank said in a notice.
Some of the top hospitals which have lately been opening satellite clinics across Kenya include Aga Khan University Hospital, Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, Avenue Healthcare, Mater Hospital and Nairobi Hospital.
There has also been a shift from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes due to lifestyle changes, which has created demand for specialised tests and treatment.
Morocco’s Saham Group has announced plans to open a chain of medical laboratories in Kenya as part of its diversification strategy after acquiring a 66.7 per cent stake in Mercantile Insurance.