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French firm signals Lancet expansion

Ahmed Kalebi
Lancet Kenya group managing director Dr Ahmed Kalebi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

France-based multinational Cerba Healthcare, which took control of Lancet Laboratories’ Kenya unit earlier this year, says it is planning the rollout of additional centres in the country.

The medical services provider says the growth plan is expected to bring down the cost of laboratory tests for patients in Kenya.

Cerba Health International managing director and Cerba Lancet Africa Chair Jérome Thill reckons planned investments in growing the firm’s presence in the region and widening the range of its specialised tests will help enhance evidence-based diagnosis and management of illnesses.

“Through economies of scale, we can bring the average costs of lab tests down for patients while maintaining high quality and this is one of the pillars of the joint venture to better support healthcare in Kenya and Africa,” he said.

Mr Thill expressed concerns that lab reagents and equipment needed to carry out tests are more expensive in Africa than Europe due to significant importation charges, markup by vendors and logistics, translating into higher costs of lab tests for patients.

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“It is noteworthy that majority of lab users in Kenya are vulnerable to costs of lab tests since they pay out of pocket and on average, have lower purchasing power than their counterparts in Europe. Policy makers should relook at the taxation regime on lab inputs in light of the Universal Health agenda,” Mr Thil told Business Daily.

Managing director and co-owner of Pathologists Lancet Kenya (PLK) Dr Ahmed Kalebi said Cerba’s experience in expanding rapidly in Europe and bringing down costs of lab tests would come in handy in replicating the same in Kenya and Africa.

“We have to find ways at least to match costs in Europe if not lower. This will significantly increase accessibility to quality health care,” said Dr Kalebi.

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