Africa | March 14, 2019

Africa Healthcare Network secures funding to expand care centers for kidney patients

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, March 14 – Africa Healthcare Network (AHN) runs a network of low-cost dialysis clinics for kidney patients in Rwanda and Tanzania. It has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from healthcare investment firm Asia Africa Investment and Consulting and existing investor Polaris Partners to build new centers and launch in Kenya.

Only a small percentage of East Africans with kidney disease get diagnosed and can receive life-saving treatments, like dialysis. (A spokesperson for AHN said estimates are about 5%.) This is in part due to a dearth of specialist doctors who can diagnose disease and because of the cost, availability and quality of dialysis in the region.

AHN launched in 2015 to provide accessible and affordable care to East African patients suffering from kidney failure. Its model aims to:

  • Make care more accessible, through urban and semi-urban care centers that partner with regional hospitals and doctors;
  • Offer affordable treatments, which it can do by staffing its clinics with skilled but lower-cost workers, like dialysis technicians and nurses; and
  • Improve the quality of care patients receive, both in terms of hygiene (which is lacking in many facilities and leads to infection, like transmission of HIV, and Hepatitis B and C) and service.

“Most dialysis centers have no appointments. Patients have to receive treatments three times a week, for four hours at a time,” AHN’s spokesperson explained. “If you add a three-hour wait time to that, well, now it’s impossible to hold a job.”

AHN currently has eight clinics in Rwanda and Tanzania, mostly in urban centers. It primarily serves middle-class, insured patients, for whom private care facilities are too expensive. Most of its patients are insured under government healthcare schemes.

With the Series A funding, AHN is looking to open seven more clinics in 2019, with an eye to moving into semi-urban areas. It plans to open one to two of these clinics in Kenya.