Within third-world countries, healthcare services and their expenses have seriously gone out of hand, especially in the last decade or so. It was reported in the year of 2015 that these countries had spent more than $148 billion from their end to manage their healthcare services. Due to the high expenses most of these families have gone into extreme poverty levels. This is where health insurance organizations could have positively affected these countries.
However, all the providers are finding it difficult to convince all the common people to pay for their insurance premiums as it may not be needed in the future. The advent of digital financial services has made it easier for people to pin up multiple financial services as they can be easily delivered through various digital channels.
Now in the case of Kenya as it is a mid-income country the overall GDP rate on the expenditure on healthcare is very low at 6%. Compared with the other developed countries where the GDP rate is Near 9.3% it is a worrying sign for the common people of Kenya who do not get quality healthcare services. As a result, more than 75% of the entire population does not have any health insurance.
However, there is one aspect in which the country is showing real growth and it is the usage of mobile technologies. This kind of digital revolution can be used by the common people of the country to get proper access to universal healthcare services. Especially, in the modern generation healthcare practitioners have transformed their processes with the help of these mobile technologies. But, before we move on to how it can address the healthcare situations of Kenya let’s have a look at the general definition of these mHealth services.
What are mHealth Services?
mHealth has become a pretty common term for mobile health services, as in this process, medical practitioners can use different types of mobile phones and other technologies for their healthcare procedures. With the usage of mHealth devices, healthcare practitioners can easily educate all patients on preventive healthcare procedures. mHealth devices can also be used in other situations as well like any management of a chronic disease or providing support to any treatment of a patient.
So, it is clear that mHealth can be a hugely popular option, especially in third-world countries like Kenya where there is a huge amount of population and the country is also having growth in the usage of digital technologies. Within any developing country, mHealth services can bring forward an improvement in their healthcare services as there are a lot of benefits to using these devices.
- The overall convenience factor of these mHealth devices is one of their main benefits.
- With different kinds of gadgets like wearables, you can easily track your health data without having to see any healthcare practitioner.
- mHealth services can also have a lot of options in their in-app choices as just within the last decade or so more than 325,000 apps have been made available for all users.
- mHealth devices also can allow patients to communicate with their care providers without having to visit their chambers.
- In this way, a lot of preventive healthcare decisions can be taken without any hiccups or delays.
In the context of Kenya, more than 22 million people pay out of their way to seek any form of healthcare services. In this case, the country can use its growth of digital technologies in a good way so that this mHealth and Microinsurance product can be delivered to all the common people. With the usage of digital services people can get knowledge of insurance products and their importance. However, there are some other issues that need to be researched and investigated before moving ahead with this plan.
Current Situation of Kenya’s Healthcare Services
Kenyans are currently living in a mid-income country as it is caused by the restructuring of the country’s economic calculations. The 6% GDP rate on healthcare expenditure is also not helping the cause of the common people. So much so that more than 33 million Kenyans are still uninsured in which almost 70% of this population lives under $2 each day.
So these low-income people do not seek any kind of medical care as they don’t have the funds for it. This has resulted in the horrifying picture of the country where the general life expectancy of the population is merely 61 years and the health expectancy is just 53. The maternal mortality of the country is also doubled the usual average rate.
Currently, the country is employing Inclusive business models as they are adding all the poor people to the organization’s value chain so that they can initiate a range of healthcare services. All these services consist of cheaper health insurance policies, mobile money technology, and so on. Mobile money technologies can give these people a range of health sector benefits which can be more financially efficient and enhance the accessibility of healthcare services.
However, the current condition of all the private insurers is not matching with the market of Kenya as they are simply not that interested in serving in a country like Kenya. Some of the reasons on their part can be the absence of reliable data, super high acquisition costs of the customers, expensive administration, and many more.
This is where we can push forward the mHealth services as with its gamification techniques the common public can be brought in. With these services, we can promote more healthy behavior and at that same time can distribute the knowledge of the insurance products and services to the common people in Kenya. By ensuring access to mobile technologies like MicroEnsure we can take control of the overall cost of administration.
In terms of bad service quality, we can also associate ourselves with Panda Health which can distribute high-quality care that can be much more affordable for common people. This service can allow low-income common people to get access to primary care and family planning services at the same time the services for women’s health. Now, if you are wondering what is particularly stopping Kenya and its people to get high-quality primary care services, there are some major reasons behind this bottleneck.
Why Are The Common People Of Kenya Struggling to Access Quality Healthcare Services?
As we have discussed earlier more than 40% of the population of the whole world is not protected by any kind of insurance plan. Same with the context of Kenya the country comes under the mid-income section of the world.
The Low Income Rate of Common People
The low-income rates of the common people are one of the major reasons why Kenyans are struggling to access quality primary care services. Just like any other developing country Kenya has also pushed a lot of its population into extreme poverty. So much so that overall expenditure on health has lowered to 6% of the GDP rate compared to the average of 9.3% of other developed countries.
Apart from this, more than 75% of the entire population in Kenya does have not got health insurance. As it all boils down to the low-income rates of the majority of the common public in the country. Out of the entire population of Kenya, nearly 70% have to suffice with lesser than $2 each day. This kind of income rate is one of the main reasons why Kenyans suffer to access quality care services.
Lack of Knowledge
Most Kenyan people do not want to invest in health insurance due to the cost as it may or may not be needed in the future. The lack of knowledge of these people about the importance of health insurance is also one of the reasons why people do not opt to go for insurers. If the general public does not have any interest in it then the insurers also are not that interested. This results in them not serving these services within a country like Kenya.
Middle Income Country
Most of the administration process of these health sectors can be quite expensive as Kenya is a mid-income country. A lot of the public does suffer from financial depravity as the healthy life experience in the country is not more than 53 years old. It means that the overall average of years that a Kenyan can get sick is more than 8 years.
The financial insufficiency here is one of the major reasons why the general people here can not access quality healthcare services. With the requirement for more advanced healthcare services, the general people can not get access to it due to their lack of capital.
Absence of Reliable Data
For establishing the insurance, the insurers need reliable data for the sake of proper pricing, as it is one of the biggest reasons why several insurers are not that interested in serving the mass market of Kenya. Also, for the product to be developed properly, you will require this kind of accurate data which is also not available, thus making the insurers back out from their plans in a country like Kenya.
Expensive Acquisition Cost of Customers
The fact that Kenya can have a lot more population than the other developed countries means the customer acquisition price can be a lot higher than in other countries. Making insurance plans and healthcare services for an overpopulated country can take a lot of funds from various organizations.
Along with it, the overall service quality delivered to every individual can take a lot of effort. The fact that microfinance operations coupled with information services can enable all low-income people a quality primary care accessibility but to do that for an overpopulated country will require excessive acquisition costs.
Due to the population of a country like Kenya, the administration of these microinsurance plans and services can take up a lot of capital from the insurers or organizations. For this reason, the healthcare services of Kenya are struggling to implement these microinsurance services as a result of not bringing any quality care to all the low-income people of the country.
Thus, the overall complexity of the administration process has forced the insurers to not come and serve the mass market of common people. The low-income rate of the people also shows the current financial condition of the country and for this reason, also the country is struggling to implement any kind of insurance plans and services for common people.
Poor Services by Healthcare Providers
There are other reasons as well for all the Kenyans for not getting any quality primary care services as it is due to the poor services provided by their healthcare providers. The below-average quality of services has also forced the insured or policyholders to not take any kind of interest in the Kenya market. Due to the presence of poor-quality care services the common people of the country are continuously suffering from less healthy attributes in their day-to-day lives.
These reasons have specifically contributed to the current poor condition of healthcare services within Kenya. So much so that the common people are still continuously struggling with their healthy life expectancy rates as it is very less in the country. Common people do not have the proper knowledge of health insurance as it can cover many of their health issues.
The disinterested insured people or policyholders perhaps need to look at other solutions like mHealth devices and other kinds of mobile Microinsurance products. Now before we move ahead on how these mobile Microinsurance products are helping the cause of these common people of Kenya let’s have a closer look at what are these products.
Mobile Technologies in Healthcare Services and Its Importance
In the modern day and age of the digital revolution, mobile technologies have become a crucial element within the healthcare sector. Through these devices, healthcare practitioners and physicians, and other patients can keep track of their health progress as well as wellness strategies as they can track it even outside of a clinical setting.
Common mobile devices have become of the main elements of mHealth services. Especially in the context of Kenya as the country has seen a digital revolution as most people do own a smartphone as it is seen in Africa’s 2015 smartphone record-breaking sales. So this kind of digital revolution can be used to cover some of the underdeveloped areas like the accessibility to healthcare services for poor people.
With the advent of the pandemic, the requirement of mobile devices to counter any healthy related issue has become even more prominent. Here are some of the major benefits that can be initiated with the application of mHealth devices, especially in the context of Kenya.
In the case of Kenyan patients, a lot of them can improve their communication process with their healthcare providers through the use of mobile technologies. Especially, the case rural people within the country can easily contact and get access to healthcare providers through their smartphones. In this way, they can get quicker and quality care services whenever they require them.
Lesser Hospital Visits
In most cases when people will use mobile technology, they simply do not have to visit the clinic for any kind of healthcare-related services. This not only can save their time but also can give them access to quality care from the comfort of their residence. They simply do not have to visit the clinic that often for any kind of quality care services.
Lowering the Risk of Infections
In the case of any serious or infectious injury, Kenyan patients can easily use their mobile technologies to get connected to healthcare providers. In this way, they not only can lessen the cost of the hospital visit but also can call for quick meditative actions as prescribed by their healthcare provider through their mobile devices. This can lessen the risk of a more infectious injury.
Saving Time by Using Telehealth Services
With the help of different telehealth devices like smartphones patients who require immediate medical help can save time and get quick action. The telehealth services here can work wonders for patients who come from a very rural background of the country as in this way they can communicate better with their healthcare providers.
What Are Mobile Microinsurance Products?
Microinsurance can be specified as a sort of insurance that is meant for low-income people so that they can handle any kind of financial issue in their lives as it can be perfect for countries that are struggling with the implications of micro financial services for financial inclusion. However, in most underdeveloped countries these products and services are not that widely available thus diluting its main goal.
The reasons for this can be directed to the transaction cost as the overall cost of selling the insurance does not lapse according to the cost of the policy. Now in case you are wondering what is mobile microinsurance product. Well in that case it can be generally defined as any kind of microinsurance that takes the leverage of mobile channels.
- The main objective of these mobile microinsurance products is to initiate a range of innovative insurance plans for the common people.
- These insurance products can be regulated by Mobile Network Operators, Insurers, governments, and banks.
- The main goal is to give financial protection to all poor people and offer microfinance as a mobile game for teens, for example.
- The main advantage of using mobile services in these cases is the relief of the cost for the participants.
- Through these mobile services collecting premiums from the rural people can help especially in the case of any underdeveloped country like Kenya.
In the context of Kenya MicroEnsure is one of the leading insurance services that is providing access to common people. The MicroEnsure brand is pretty well known as it has more than 50 million users from over 15 countries. With this out of the way now let’s take a deep dive into their operations in Kenya.
How Can MicroInsurance Products Help Out Kenya’s Financial Capability?
Getting insurance plans has always been a huge problem for low-income people all over the world; the Ley moratoria moratorium law passed in Nicaragua is such an innovation in this direction. It is a serious issue, especially in the context of Kenya as more than 40% of the worldwide population has no access to these insurance plans at all. The irregular sources of income are one of the main reasons why a lot of common people in Kenya are struggling to pay the premium. This is where MicroEnsure’s product named Fearless Health has become one of the primary insurance products within a country like Kenya.
MicroEnsure as a company has always focussed on giving accidental, basic as well as hospital insurance as they provide these through mobile phones. As many Kenyan customers are super into mobile accessories and other digital devices this kind of partnership with the network operators has given MicroEnsure a great platform to reach out to all the common people in Kenya. There are some clauses there as well as you can only use these insurance plans for any kind of catastrophic need.
It can not be used for regular day-to-day needs. Thus, to cover all the broader aspects of life and its needs MicroEnsure has initiated Fearless Health as through this the common people can get access to all the inpatient care they require without any kind of delay. This also can help in case people need immediate help if they are facing any medical delay because of financial reasons.
Some of the key features of this microinsurance product like Fearless Health are:
- This service can provide on-demand loans for all outpatient clinics as it can be used to get access to primary health care services.
- By acquiring this service common people can get access to mobile advice as they can easily call up or text their healthcare provider to ask health-related questions.
- It provides inpatient care and insurance through which the common people can get a cash payout option. It can be helpful in the case of any health emergency needs.
- This MicroEnsure service also allows all outpatient clinics to lower the overall administrative cost.
- This service also links a lot of financial products with insurance as this helps poor people to get the benefits of the insurance plan without having to pay costly premium costs.
Through these services, MicroEnsure has enabled the common poor people in Kenya to get proper access to loans that can cover their treatment costs at any clinic. The digital transaction process is also one of the major benefits that people have while using this service; this made the payouts and loan repayments much easier. Additionally, this service also offers a fair amount of credit to the needed patients.
So, it is clear from this case of MicroInsurance services as they have become one of the prime examples of how to deliver insurance services to common low-income people as it has become one of the top picks of microfinance blogosphere.
However, there are still some areas that the brand is looking to improve even more over time like focussing on three different areas the duration of the service, the amount of the service, and the covering of the number of family participants. The overall success of MicroEnsure services has given everyone enough proof of digital disruption and its importance for the case of microinsurance providers.
As they are looking to initiate other micro-insurance products through which they can reach all kinds of people, it enabled them to get access to quality care services even without any financial stability.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. How can we improve health care in Kenya?
In the case of Kenya, as the country is struggling to provide quality primary care services to most of the poor people, they can use different kinds of microinsurance products and mobile technologies to cover this area.
As the country is having a digital disruption insurance companies can use these devices to cater to the needs of all low-income people. MicroEnsure has clearly shown the path on how to use mobile technologies to spread insurance services to the common people of the country.
Q2. What is Kenya’s quality of healthcare framework?
The Kenya Quality Model was initiated by the Ministry Of Health of the country for a more integrated approach to healthcare services within the country unlike the fostering of responsible finance in Myanmars infant industry. Its main objective is to regulate the healthcare organizations of the country to spread positive health impacts to every part of the country. In this way, quality care can be served to everyone who requires to address their issues.
Q3. How mobile technology is used in health care in Kenya?
In Kenya, mobile technology usage has reached a huge number more than 98% of adults have access to it and the acceptance of the mHealth services has also been quite high. With the help of these devices, the general people have got quick access to various health-related solutions through their mobile phones. It is clear from the presence of a microinsurance company like MicroEnsure that Kenyans are more into this kind of healthcare development than anything else.
So it is clear that a mid-income country like Kenya will require the help of various microinsurance products and mHealth services so that proper quality primary care can be delivered to low-income people. As the majority of the population is suffering from the unavailability of health insurance, the digital revolution is the only way through which it can be spread out. Microinsurance services can be one of the valid options in this case as is seen in the case of MicroEnsure.
The high level of mobile phone usage in the case of Kenyans can be used positively, especially in the area they are struggling like their underdeveloped healthcare services. So the possibility of digital healthcare integration is immense as this kind of innovation can be used to cater to the medical needs of common Kenyans.
- Jonas Taylor is a financial expert and experienced writer with a focus on finance news, accounting software, and related topics. He has a talent for explaining complex financial concepts in an accessible way and has published high-quality content in various publications. He is dedicated to delivering valuable information to readers, staying up-to-date with financial news and trends, and sharing his expertise with others.
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