If you have driven through Nairobi’s South C estate, you can’t help but notice new health facilities in the erstwhile residential neighbourhood. The observation, however, isn’t limited just to hospitals and clinics. High-rise buildings and restaurants are also sprinkled in the transition into a mixed — residential area.
A striking feature is the new architectural planning and exquisite finishing of premises and eateries. The sudden shift seems to be facilitated by changing regulations following rezoning of areas like Kilimani, Parklands, South C among others, allowing high-rise buildings.
The developments could be fuelled by investors wishing for property value bargains. A plot in such locales costs less than in CBD or other prime residential one. Enquiries reveal, such a modest house with its compound could sell for Sh20 million.
A sociologist colleague indicates that with second generation owners of previous family houses now inheriting ownership, cashing out on the family heirloom is deemed a more rewarding way to redistribute the assets than splitting monthly rent averaging Sh50,000-Sh65,000.
For instance, while a caesarean delivery and care would easily reach Sh 230,000 in top tier facilities, rates here hover between Sh140,000- Sh190,000. Among specialities noted are providers catering to pregnant women and children as well as dental services, budgeted to offer care for those seeking a slightly different experience from the public sector, but unable to meet Nairobi Hospital or Aga Khan kind of fees.
The latter speciality in particular, targeting cash paying clientele, has seen quite a number of dental enterprises move to the area, as insurers struggle with late claims settlement. The caveat though is that given the situation, space is a bit scarce and most facilities are having to go “up” with little outside the building.
Curiously, the area is home to the Kenya Medical Association Housing Estate. Such a high density of senior medics could be seeding the several hospitals and health centres springing up in the neighbourhood. Proximity to Kenyatta National Hospital and The University of Nairobi Medical School, could be other incentives to doctors, residents and junior consultants to set up shop here. Proximity to the primary source of doctors offers easier commutes to “locum tenens” opportunities, especially for highly skilled health workers focusing on procedure based services like imaging, dental and theatre interventions.
The medical speciality’s rigid protocol for admission rights vesting on consultants means long tenures quite akin to university professorships. Unless one retires, no opportunity arises for those below. Recently specialised doctors are setting out in such enterprises to chart their future.
It makes for an interesting future of a changing landscape with high end office developments taking space and elbowing housing estates. Access to a pool of skilled specialised low cadre workers in high numbers is replicating tertiary level care in South C.