In a quiet neighborhood in Kenya, Faith Wanjiku, a trained assistant nurse, diligently attends to her patient, 85-year-old Teresa Mukhovi. Teresa is battling dementia, hypertension, and diabetes, and her daughter Petronilla has been her primary caregiver for the past two years.
Petronilla, however, found conventional hospital care financially burdensome until she discovered Benacare, a social enterprise dedicated to providing affordable home health care in Kenya.
Petronilla Mukhovi, daughter of Teresa, shared her experience, stating, "I have been taking Mom to various hospitals, but I found they have been very expensive for me; I couldn't afford. So I talked to my boss about my mum, and she introduced me to Benacare. Benacare has been very helpful to me because they brought me nurses from the hospital to train me to look after my mum. I know how to check her blood pressure, sugar levels..."
Benacare's mission is to assist low-income families in accessing healthcare without financial strain. The organization offers essential healthcare training, covering tasks such as bed baths, administering medication, feeding, and monitoring blood pressure.
Naom Monari, CEO of Benacare, explained, "What we have been doing for five years now is to lower the cost of healthcare for chronically ill patients and their families. And how we have been able to achieve that is by building a large network of healthcare workers and connecting them to patients' homes so that they can provide affordable clinical and supportive care at the comfort of the patient's own home."
Home-based care, particularly in rural areas, brings numerous advantages, as highlighted by healthcare management expert Ashihundu Khayumbi. "You find that a patient is admitted in the city and the relatives are coming from the rural areas.
The patient is faced by bills in the hospital, the relatives have to pay for hotel stay in the city. Home-based patients do not have to incur bed charges, nursing charges. They will only pay for the health care assistant charges at home and only for medication, and the patient will also have a chance to interact with the relatives while still at home."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2022, 5.1% of the Kenyan population spent more than 10% of their household income on healthcare. Benacare's innovative approach aims to alleviate this financial burden, ensuring that quality healthcare reaches those who need it the most.