M-Tiba betting on cheaper loans to lower medical costs

M-TIBA & MCF have onboarded more than 600 healthcare providers since its launch in 2017.

In Summary

•Cash advance has helped more than 600 healthcare facilities; with  over 5000 loans provided, this has gone a long way in increasing medical capacity across Kenya.

•Healthcare Providers, private clinics both small and big are able to receive unsecured loans of up to Sh40 million. 

M-Tiba CEO Moses G. Kuria.
M-Tiba CEO Moses G. Kuria.

The government is walking a tightrope in the quest to provide universal health coverage for its population.

Kenya has been one of the countries with the highest cost of accessing healthcare.

Previous attempts to reduce the cost of healthcare have been short-lived. 

The push for universal health coverage (UHC) has faced numerous challenges ranging from a lack of a proper financing mechanism, and poor implementation by the government, to the inability of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to cover the entire population.

The Star spoke to M-Tiba CEO  Moses Kuria on championing access to affordable medical care and how the Cash Advance product is helping improve service provision.

What is M-Tiba's Cash Advance and how long has it been in existence?

Cash Advance is a health financing solution provided by the Medical Credit Fund in partnership with M-Tiba to enable healthcare providers ( hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, opticians and dental clinics) to easily access affordable loans so that they can concentrate on growing their businesses.

When was it founded and what has been its impact?

Since its establishment in 2017, Cash Advance has helped more than 600 healthcare facilities; with over 5000 loans provided, this has gone a long way in increasing medical capacity across Kenya.

Healthcare Providers, private clinics both small and big are able to receive unsecured loans of up to Sh40 million. 

What made Medical Credit Fund (MCF) and M-Tiba come up with Cash Advance and how many healthcare SMEs have you onboarded so far?

In Kenya, small and medium-sized private clinics play an important role in the overall healthcare system.

Yet, they are often unable to access credit due to the perceived high credit risk related to their small size, perceived low profitability, inadequate accounting systems, and lack of collateral.

Medical Credit Fund ( MCF) and M-Tiba saw the gap in the need for Healthcare Providers to access credit, and increase medical capacity and accessibility to affordable healthcare.

Healthcare providers who previously struggled with working capital shortages, limitations to accessing sufficient traditional and affordable financing, can now access affordable and flexible loans through M-Tiba’s simplified digital solution, Cash Advance .

So far, M-Tiba & MCF has onboarded more than 600 healthcare providers since its launch in 2017 and we aim to continue scaling our services so that healthcare facilities can have enough cash flow, to get the right equipment for diagnosis, restock on drugs, expand their bed capacity , improve  their operational efficiencies, and provide better care to their patients.

How does Cash Advance work and what are the benefits of enrolling in it?

Cash Advance is given to healthcare providers for the purpose of providing them with immediate access to funds, requirements from a healthcare provider is: To have a Lipa Na Mpesa Buy Goods till or Pay bill, Know Your Customer(KYC) documents including certificate of registration, CR12 if any, medical license, IDs and KRA pin, At least 3 months Mpesa Till or pay bill statements.

The biggest benefit of enrolling in Cash Advance is that it allows healthcare providers to quickly access working capital of up to Sh 40 million that can be used to finance working capital requirements.

In the model there’s no collateral needed, low interest rates and flexible repayment schedules where you choose what repayment terms work for your business.

What other challenges do you think healthcare providers face in Kenya?

In Kenya, there is a financing gap experienced by private-sector healthcare facilities which limits their ability to increase and improve their quality, and scale while better serving a wider range of patients.

The facilities, although vital in the whole healthcare delivery system, are not able to handle the high cost of borrowing that could help them solve cash flow issues.

Times are changing and with the advancement of technology such challenges can be addressed so that we can open up the pool to healthcare providers and MSMEs to digital tools that help them advance, and scale their businesses by automating services like claims management, patient management and other manual processes, so that they can focus on their core business which is providing care.

What other products and services does M-Tiba provide to SMEs?

Currently, we have partnered with major insurance companies like Britam, Jubilee Health insurance to develop tailor-made group covers for SMEs.

Through this we enable groups and businesses to protect and provide emotional and financial safety to their employees and their loved ones, whenever they need to visit a doctor, by providing them with affordable health protection solutions.

What has been the impact of Cash Advance and M-Tiba on the healthcare Industry in Kenya?

 M-Tiba and Medical Credit Fund both play a crucial role in the healthcare industry in Kenya. The overall goal of the Kenya Health policy 2014-2030 is to attain the highest standard of health in a manner responsive to the needs of the Kenya population.

Our aim at M-Tiba is to democratize healthcare access, and the best way to do so is by enabling healthcare providers to provide quality care to Kenyans, at a cost they can afford.

When healthcare providers are able to cater for the needs of patients, we reduce the challenge most patients face by being referred from one facility to another, simply because a facility lacks the capacity to handle what they could be facing.

We are always humbled to see the difference we are making, I mean, I have seen a small clinic grow from a three bed capacity to 10 in just  three  months, which is remarkable and falls in line with our goal to drive access to healthcare across Kenya.

What more can we expect for Cash Advance?

Our goal is to transform care access and we intend to reach all private healthcare facilities across the entire country, with a solution that transforms their businesses, makes them profitable and allows them to grow while keeping costs down for patients. This way more Kenyans can access the quality and affordable care they need, right where they are.

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