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Innovative programmes show heightened management of hypertension and diabetes

By George Kebaso
Saturday, June 27th, 2020
Diabetes test PHOTO/COURTESY
In summary
    • A new report by Boehringer Ingelheim shows that Kuza Afya (Nurture Your Health), oversaw screening of over 70, 000 community members for hypertension, and 40, 000 others for diabetes in Bungoma county between January and December last year.

Two local programmes funded by a Germany pharmaceutical company targeting populations in rural Western Kenya and informal settlements in Nairobi have seen over 100, 000 patients screened and enrolled for hypertension and diabetes treatment.

A new report by Boehringer Ingelheim shows that Kuza Afya (Nurture Your Health), oversaw screening of over 70, 000 community members for hypertension, and 40, 000 others for diabetes in Bungoma county between January and December last year.

The results released this week by the company are about hypertension and diabetes patients’ access to healthcare programs part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s “In reach Africa” program which includes Tiba Yako in Nairobi.

Tiba Yako, a digital service model for diabetes and hypertension care mainly in Nairobi, saw over 1, 435 1,435 patients in Nairobi enrolled in one year.

Both programs according to Boehringer Ingelheim’s report shows that patients continue to access care for hypertension and diabetes routinely.

Simon Manyara, Product Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim in charge of Sub-Sahara Africa said , through the two programmes the company has been able to identify the key challenges leading to the high prevalence of hypertension and diabetes in the two regions.

“Lack of awareness on the two diseases and access to healthcare services especially in the grassroots and low income areas is one of the major challenges we have identified.

“However, the two programmes has helped us to bridge this gap by equipping more clinics with basic diagnostic kits so as to test as many people as possible and link patients with the right management to avoid any complications occasioned by late diagnosis,” Manyara added.

The Kuza Afya programme was implemented in partnership with the AMPATH Consortium comprising of multiple North American academic institutions led by Indiana University, and partners with the Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Western Kenya.

According to the report, this has largely succeeded due to the exchange of knowledge; sharing resources, training of medical professionals, and reaching patients and communities.

“The programme also trained over 500 community health workers and 57 clinical officers and nurses on identification, prevention and management of the two conditions. An innovative supply chain mechanism using a portable pharmacy was created to ensure uninterrupted supply of medicines for those in need,” Manyara noted.

Through these efforts, he said that over 5,000 new patients in the region are now accessing care for hypertension and diabetes routinely.

“To support care for the patients diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes health facilities were equipped with basic diagnostic kits and care protocols and offered mentorship for quality care,” he added.

He said the company will continue to offer technical support to the projects on the ground to ensure that they continue offering services to the communities in the two regions.

On its part, Tiba Yako rolled out last year by Boehringer Ingelheim in partnership with Pharm Access mainly targeting people living in slum areas and other informal settlements in Nairobi, patients have access to a mobile health wallet through which they can save for healthcare expenses and acquire discounted prices for treatment of their chronic disease.

“Under the Tiba Yako programme, patients were screened and directly supported through awareness programmes, access and adherence to diabetes and hypertension care. Patients also acquired a device to measure their blood pressure and glucose levels at home. The patients were also trained by agents to enter these figures in a self-management app.

During the roll out, Manyara said that 7 clinics were selected to support care for the patients diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes. These health facilities were also equipped with basic diagnostic kits and care protocols and offered mentorship for quality care.

“This digital model has been hailed as successful in the management of hypertension and diabetes patients owing to the mobile phones access and network penetration in Kenya. The programme registered patient adherence of 48 percent surpassing the projected 27 percent.

Tiba Yako is also anchored by M-TIBA, a digital payment platform for healthcare which was developed by PharmAccess and partners. M-TIBA provides access to healthcare by connecting people to clinics and healthcare funders, directly through a wallet on their mobile phone, and exchanging money and data between them.

The programme was launched last year in Kenya and later rolled out in other Sub Sahara Africa countries like Nigeria and Ghana.  Through this programme, Boehringer Ingelheim targets the major Non-communicable diseases (NCDs like Diabetes, Hypertension and Stroke.

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