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M-tiba national rollout underway

SCI & TECH
By Standard Reporter | September 16th 2016

NAIROBI, KENYA: The national roll out of M-TIBA is underway, with 45,000 people now registered and 60 healthcare providers in Nairobi now operational. The mobile health wallet – developed by CarePay, PharmAccess and Safaricom – allows users to send, save and receive funds to access healthcare services using their mobile phones. 

Michiel Slootweg, CEO, CarePay Ltd, says: “M-TIBA is a simple and powerful tool for healthcare savings, payments and bonus schemes. This combined offering has been really popular with Nairobians. And each week we are adding more clinics in more areas, so more Kenyans can take control of their healthcare.” 

To encourage healthcare savings, the Pfizer Foundation is funding the first M-TIBA bonus scheme. This sees the first 100,000 users – who register and deposit Kshs. 100 or more per month – receiving a monthly bonus amount of Kshs. 50 for up to 12 months. UAP Insurance is also offering them 12 months personal accident cover for the principal member and one spouse, up to the value of Kshs. 8,000.  

Funds on M-TIBA can only be used at one of the selected healthcare providers, who form part of the M-TIBA network. PharmAccess works with these clinics and hospitals to improve standards and business management. And they sign up to internationally recognized ‘SafeCare’ standards, which aim to ensure better quality and patient safety. 

Millicent Olulo, Country Director PharmAccess Foundation says, “To truly improve healthcare inclusion, we obviously need to help customers save and pay for healthcare. At the same time we must work to improve standards and services in those clinics and hospitals that display the M-TIBA sign.”   

The 60 M-TIBA healthcare providers in Nairobi have been activated from the 2,000 healthcare facilities nationwide, which are contracted to CarePay. In the coming months M-TIBA will be rolled out to hundreds more healthcare facilities nationwide, serving all income groups.  

In September 2016, CarePay and Safaricom activated the option to ‘send money’ to M-TIBA. This enables people to send healthcare funds from their own M-PESA accounts to the M-TIBA accounts of others, such as household staff or relatives.  

Michiel Slootweg says, “M-TIBA allows individuals and organizations to distribute funds for healthcare to people who rely on them. They can be sure that those funds will be used for healthcare only. And they know that their dependents are being treated at clinics that charge fair prices and follow internationally recognized quality standards.”  

Nearly half of all healthcare expenditure in Kenya is currently paid out-of-pocket. This means many Kenyans have no health insurance or access to mechanisms that pay for basic healthcare. This is a burden on low-income homes, with mothers and young children being particularly vulnerable.  

Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom says: “For many Kenyans a trip to the clinic can create real financial strain. And it can have a knock-on effect in people holding down jobs, or having to sell their belongings to pay for basic care. M-TIBA can extend and transform essential services for millions of Kenyans. This is just the start of what we can do together to transform Kenya’s healthcare sector.” 

Users can be registered on M-TIBA through an M-TIBA agent, or self-register by dialing *253# on their mobile phones. The customer care center can be reached by calling toll-free on 0800 721253.

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