Sometime in 2022, Rosemary Nankabirwa got the shock of her life when her underage daughter was impregnated by another juvenile.
Despite the disappointment, Nankabirwa, a teacher by profession, chose to support her daughter through this trying experience.
She started by enrolling the expectant mother at a nearby health centre for antenatal care, and it is here that her story shifted from sadness to one of hope.
“When I came with my child, we were introduced to a product called clinicPesa Mamas by a company called clinicPesa where vulnerable expectant mothers were helped to save money, prepare for safe delivery and receive some medical supplies,” she recalls.
“We enrolled and my child started saving through me and she was given a card,” she says, noting that clinicPesa’s saving platform helped her cover child delivery fees as well as postnatal care.
Harriet Igalu is another subscriber to the clinicPesa Mama’s product. She notes that after she was introduced to clinicPesa mid-last year, she started to save little amounts in preparation for safe delivery.
“I got to know about clinicPesa last year in June. I was enrolled and started saving small. clinicPesa improved my saving culture. At the time of delivery, I had saved enough money that catered for my hospital bills and also transport to and from the hospital.”
clinicPesa is a fintech driven digital healthcare initiative that provides access to healthcare financing that is more convenient and affordable than the traditional insurance through digital micro-loans and a savings platform. Subscribers are encouraged to set aside dedicated healthcare funds used to offset medical bills and purchase drugs in time of need.
According to Eng Chrispinus Onyancha, the founder and CEO at clinicPesa, this solution is aimed at solving the challenge of access to health financing because most Ugandans either don’t have or can’t afford conventional health insurance.
“What we have come out to do is creating a mobile wallet that enables the public to save from as low as Shs 1,000 on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and they are able to use this money to clear medical bills at any of our partner health centres. In case they do not have enough money, we are able to give them a loan top-up to clear bills and pay later,” he says.
Onyancha notes that they have a partnership with MTN MoMo where one just needs to dial *165*5# and select clinicPesa under the loans and savings option. In there they are able to put in their mobile money pin to accept the terms and conditions and an account is created.
“You can also download our mobile application from Google PlayStore and put in your mobile money number and a prompt will be sent to your phone to confirm your subscription” he explains.
“On the other hand, the product of clinicPesa Mamas contributes to the reduction of maternal mortality by helping expectant mothers to plan towards the cost of safe child delivery,” he says.
Onyancha further adds that clinicPesa has received tremendous uptake because of the growing appreciation of medical insurance by Ugandans.
“We have grown our customer base to over 780,000 and we are almost clocking the one million mark. We are currently working with more than 2,490 health centres across Uganda,” he says.
Nonetheless, Onyancha notes that besides the regulatory challenges, startups are curtailed by limited resources for investment due to the global economic recession in the past few years.
“The other challenge is about the awareness. People still don’t appreciate saving, especially saving for healthcare. Coming from an angle where most people are biased about insurance where they see it as a loss rather than a gain, it is difficult to transform these mindsets but we are doing our best,” he says.
He however acknowledged that the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative is helping in showcasing the work of startup fintechs to potential investors, partners and clients.
“The other aspect that 40 Days 40 FinTech is addressing is the creation of awareness of these fintechs in the community. The community now knows that we are doing and how we do it. This helps in our efforts to move from a cash based to a cashless economy,” he says.
clinicPesa is the 37th participant in season four of the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative that is organised by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop Foundation, INFITX, Cyberplc Academy, Ideation Corner and Crosslake Technologies with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The initiative highlights innovative stories that are changing lives of under-served communities. According to HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya, this year’s initiative looks at the user experience of East African fintechs.
“We are happy that more people are onboarding to these digital financial services such as clinicPesa that are touching the lives of ordinary people. Health is Wealth and we are glad that clinicPesa is democratizing access to dignified healthcare through the micro savings and credit solutions,” he noted.
Source: The Observer