Dorah Nyanja runs a micro-franchise clinic in Kibera, a slum of Nairobi. She works 14-hour days to serve a community that desperately needs her, and she has found satisfaction in her work that equals the relief her patients receive from her.
We want to weigh the baby. Okay. Five point two kilograms already. Five point two KGs for a 10-week-old baby? Good enough.
He's good? He's a healthy baby?
Yes, this is a healthy baby. As a businesswoman in Kibera, the challenges are enormous. One, I'm in business, yet I'm in business in a community which is very poor.
This is the story of Dorah Nyanja, a Sustainable Healthcare Foundation (SHF) franchisee in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya.
SHF uses a micro-franchise model of clinics to increase access to essential medicines.
This is a slum area. The area is densely populated. People are poor. Most of them live on less than USD$1 a day. Sanitation here, it is quite compromised. The prevalence of diseases like tuberculosis is very high. When something like meningitis strikes, it spreads very fast. You can imagine, if you cannot afford the basic needs, like shelter or food, at the end of the day, how will you afford healthcare? And that is where people like us come in. We try and tell them, "You can have quality care at an affordable fee." They know, once they come and pay, then I'm accountable for their health. If they go for free service, whether they get better or not, no one is accountable. SHF keeps me on my toes because I know I have to maintain standards. The clinic has to be absolutely clean. The drugs have to be of the right standards.
Initially, I was seeing about 30 patients a day, but when they realized this is a professional who is here, and she is ready to help, the number started increasing. From 30, I went to about 50, 60. Now, I end up seeing even 100 patients in a day. You have to go out and market yourself, yeah? I've gone out. I've gone to schools. I've gone to the women groups. I've gone to the churches. I've gone to the chiefs of barazas [local councils]. The way you relate to the community also plays a big, big role. I put in more than 14 hours every day. I don't live around here, I live 20 kilometers from here, and I have to take public transport from home to the clinic and back every day, so it becomes quite challenging. What keeps me going at the clinic is that the patients appreciate the service that I give to them. Money plays a big role in life, but it is not everything. Some of us have a lot of money, but they are not happy. But I'm making much less, but I'm a happy person, because I know I'm giving service to a community which deserves to be given quality care.