In 2002, Hannah Gachoka, a certified nurse, opened her own clinic in Thika, the largest town in the county of Kiambu, Kenya. With limited equipment and knowledge, Gachoka ended up referring more patients elsewhere than she diagnosed and treated at her own clinic.
Today, Gachoka’s clinic is booming. She has her own laboratory and provides a range of health care services, such as screening and treatment for cervical cancer, ante-natal and postnatal services, family planning, HIV testing, care and counseling, immunizations for children and minor surgeries such as circumcision. Recently, she was also able to secure a loan for ultrasound equipment, for which she could earn 1,500-2,000 ($15-20) Kenyan shillings per patient.
Gachoka attributes most of her current know-how and skills to the training she’s been receiving under the Tunza Family Health Network, a social franchise program launched in 2008 by PS Kenya, a locally registered and independent nongovernmental organization under the Population Services International brand. The social franchise — which operates much like commercial franchising but whose goal is twofold: earn profit while achieving social impact by creating more employment — provides business training and new and alternative methods of patient care to member clinics, particularly those related to maternal and child health and family planning, core programs of Tunza.
Today, the franchise has more than 300 clinics in its network, and inquiries on how to be part of Tunza continue to come in from interested clinics, according to Dr. Job Makoyo, senior manager of quality assurance at PS Kenya.