City Eye Hospital joins Business Call to Action with a commitment to make quality eye care affordable in Kenya
Nairobi, 13 July 2017 – Kenya-based City Eye Hospital has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) by pledging to provide comprehensive eye examinations to 120,000 customers in poor communities by 2020 – 80,000 of them in community-based outreach ‘eye screening camps’. By the same year, the company aims to provide over 5,000 low-income clients with access to affordable, high-quality cataract care.
Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than USD 8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Kenya’s Government estimates that 250,000 people in the country are blind, with another 750,000 Kenyans suffering from low vision. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness: although they can be treated, the country’s many low-income communities lack both physical access and the resources to afford cataract screening or care.
Dr. Amos Kibata established Upper Hill Eye and Laser Centre (UHEAL) in 2009 to provide quality eye care to patients in need. As operations picked up and patients benefited from the high quality of care, it was noted that the cost of care with UHEAL was too high for the majority of Kenyans, who had limited incomes.
To fill this coverage gap, UHEAL developed a cross-subsidy model in which a premium fee was charged to patients that visited the facility. These fees were used to finance a community-outreach programme through which low-income patients could be seen in their villages. But the customized van used to reach these remote villages was not sufficient to meet the huge demand in low-income communities.
This inspired Dr. Kibata to establish a new inclusive model – City Eye Hospital. With support from the Hilton Foundation and Aravind Eye Care system, the company began operations in June 2015, and has since performed more than 1,100 eye surgeries.
City Eye Hospital’s inclusive model is designed around the concept of low cost and high volumes, specifically targeting Kenyans with limited incomes and no access to medical insurance. High-volume service allows the company to charge a consultation fee below what government facilities charge for specialist services.
“With an estimated 42 percent of Kenyans living below poverty line, we needed to develop a model that provides access to quality and affordable eye care”, said Dr. Kibata, founder and CEO of City Eye Hospital. “Through high volumes, we are able to minimize operating costs while still providing quality service at affordable rates. In order to increase revenues, we also set up an optical shop, which enables us meet our running costs through the sale of eyeglasses.”
To ensure accessibility in remote areas, community-based ‘eye camps’ enable City Eye Hospital to screen large numbers of patients at no cost to the patients, and identify cases for treatment at its facility. The cost of small incision cataract surgery is USD 150 for patients who come on their own and USD 75 for patients screened through eye camps. A program to offer free cataract surgeries to outreach patients who cannot afford the USD 75 is currently in place. This approach has enabled the company to triple its number of outpatients within 18 months.
According to BCtA Programme Manager, Paula Pelaez, “City Eye Hospital’s amazing rate of growth shows how effective inclusive business models can be in reaching low-income communities with affordable quality healthcare. This company’s success means it is preventing blindness and treating cataracts in communities that previously could not access care. Its impacts on communities’ productivity, health and wellbeing are tangible.”
Having already screened 24,000 people and conducted 1,100 eye surgeries, the company has set new growth targets. City Eye Hospital aims to strengthen outreach and conduct 5,000 sight-saving surgeries within the next three years.
For further information:
BCtA: Aimee Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
City Eye Hospital: Frederick Nakhaima at email@example.com
BctA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.
About City Eye Hospital: Established in 2015, City Eye Hospital provides low-cost quality eye care through a cross-subsidy model that relies on high standardization of services. This model enables the company to offer eye care and cataract surgeries at a discounted rate to low-income customers by utilizing the expertise of doctors that simultaneously serve patients requesting premium services at a sister facility. Developed in 2015 with lessons learned from India’s well-known Aravind Eye Care model, City Eye Hospital organizes eye camps to provide cost-free examinations in low-income communities, and offers free cataract surgeries to camp patients. For more information, visit www.cityeyehospital.or.ke.