Rule no. 1, Mind your neighbor's business, keenly

By Kinya Kaunjuga

The entrance to a gated community in a slum in Kenya. They are called plots. A plot is where multiple people rent homes in a shared space with a single entrance and exit for safety.
The inside of a plot where about 10 families live. Everybody's laundry is usually hung to dry in the middle of the plot.

When you know your neighbors well and they like you, they will do their best to save crucial items such as your mattress and your children when a fire breaks out in the slum. Fires are as common as dirt.

Rule no. 2: Make sure one of your children gets an education so they get a job and get their siblings out of the slum.

In slums only a quarter of students attend formal schools.

Rule no. 3: Find the cheapest and closest medical clinic to you. There’s always someone near you that’s sick and it always spreads throughout the plot.
This is where Banda Health comes in.

Co-founders Dr. Steve Letchford and Mr. Wes Brown wanted to find a significant and scalable way to help poor clinics improve the care they deliver to even poorer patients. Given their expertise in clinical care, management, and computer programming – and seeing the benefits that hospitals gain by using electronic health management systems – they began to develop a Health Management Information System (HMIS) specifically designed for the poor clinics, commonly referred to as Frontline Medical Clinics (FMCs).
Surprisingly, internet access was available even in the poorest regions of Kenya. The system they began prototyping in 2018, is called BandaGo.

The street outside a medical clinic that uses BandaGo in Mathare slum.

For the first several years, the Banda team worked with a few clinics to build and test software that helped them run their clinics and care for their patients, learning quickly what worked in their settings and what didn’t.

A main street in a slum in Nairobi where residents can do all sorts of shopping.
The Banda Health team courageously blend in and walk in slums to visit medical clinics that use BandaGo on January 26th, 2023.

BandaGo is designed to help medical clinics maximize their use of resources, freeing up time and money for patient care, and helping them readily assess their business operations so they can make business decisions strategically. 

Because BandaGo is an online solution, barriers to scaling are reduced, and setup and support are streamlined. Clinics receive immediate access to every additional business or patient care functionality as they are released.

Clinics only require a computer (or tablet) and basic access to the internet (widely available in slums).  To increase the clinic’s ownership of the change management process, Banda Health charges each clinic a pay-as-you-go subscription fee of $5/month.

The current 75 frontline medical clinics subscribed to BandaGo HMIS throughout Kenya, Uganda and Niger have recorded over 300,000 patients visits per year.

The Banda Health team getting feedback from a BandaGo user in a clinic in Mukuru kwa Njenga slum. BandaGo is an online solution and has been in constant development over the last five years, with improvements based on feedback from users in the field.

By implementing BandaGo, clinics have stopped running out of medicine, cut days of paperwork, and eliminated the need to guess at their clinic’s financial health. By keeping their businesses healthy, clinics now have more time for direct patient care and can care for more patients.

Clinics can: rapidly identify patients at presentation, track inventory, reduce time summarizing income and expenses, extend and manage credit to patients, speed up government outpatient reporting, and track patient-related items like number of visits, past visits, primary diagnosis, and payments.

Banda Health's development team consistently checks-in with BandaGo users in their clinics to ensure they are identifying the problems they face and then creating, testing and validating solutions to address those problems.
Some of the Banda Health team, Kevin (Data Analyst), Andrew (Developer) and Clinton (Developer) outside a clinic that uses BandaGo Health Management Information System.

Improving healthcare with technology

A medic in a low-resource Frontline Medical Clinic using BandaGo.

We imagine a world where poor clinics treating even poorer patients can improve the efficiency of their operations and thus improve care for their patients.

Using a lean build-measure-learn approach, Banda Health through your giving is committed to significantly addressing barriers to access good healthcare for people who live in slums, rural villages and informal settlements through our technology solutions.  

Thank you for joining your commitment to ours. 

Kinya Kaunjuga

Kinya Kaunjuga

Kinya brings passion, an infectious laugh and 15 years of experience in the corporate and non-profit world to Banda Health. A Texas A&M alumni with a degree in Journalism and Economics, she says, "I love doing things that matter!"