North Carolina, USA – October 30, 2017: October 4, 2017 marked a momentous occasion for Agile Global Health and its partner, Kenya’s National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), as the revolutionary “NHIF @50” cardiac surgery program celebrated one year in operation.
For the past 12 months, the program – sponsored by the NHIF and implemented by Agile Global Health – has provided fully funded, locally-performed cardiac interventions to Kenyans whose treatment had been chronically delayed by congested hospital waitlists, as well as to some with new and urgent cardiac care requirements. To date, more than 600 patients have benefitted from Agile’s medical management through the program, including more than 350 who have received open-heart surgeries.
Patients have repeatedly described their experience with the program as a miracle, an answer to prayer, and the only reason they are alive today. “Most of these patients had been on the hospital waitlist for years because they could not afford treatment, and had almost given up as they waited for their turn,” said Eva Gulavi, Agile Public Relations and Communications Officer. “From the moment Agile Global Health started reaching out to patients on the waitlists, hope was revived in the lives of these individuals and their families.”
The hope rekindled by the cardiac program has been far broader than a wish for physical healing. “As cardiac disease takes its toll on the physical body, it is matched by social costs,” explained Ms. Gulavi. “Some patients could not perform their professional duties or lost career opportunities due to heart illness; children were not able to grow normally, play with other kids or even go to school, as their hearts were so strained; families were split because of the burden of treatment cost. Through this program, I have seen jobs restored with honor, I have seen children returning to school with long, healthy, productive lives ahead of them, and family and friends brought back together where the physical, emotional and financial strains of cardiac disease had previously divided them.”
The program’s impact extends beyond individuals, touching hospitals and clinical professionals nationwide, and indeed shaping the culture of the Kenyan healthcare system. “We have seen a definite increase in the capacity of Kenyan cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to perform life-saving procedures in the country,” stated Dr. Rainer Hilgenfeld, Agile Global Health’s Chief Medical Officer. “The guaranteed payment of procedures by NHIF and the excellent management by Agile also had a profound effect on providers of cardiac care in the Kenyan healthcare sector: hospitals started investing in state-of-the-art facilities and additional staff and cardiologists, and cardiac surgeons teamed up with each other and with foreign teams to provide excellent care.”
For Agile Global Health, the cardiac program’s success has been a testimony to the company’s ability to drive local and national healthcare improvements, beyond assisting patients with accessing treatment abroad. “For several years we have been hoping to reverse the trend of patients having to travel abroad to access treatment,” said Reuben Kangogo, Agile’s Kenya Operations Director. “This program made clear that with proper planning and organization, we are able to manage cardiac, and a host of other conditions, locally.”
And the program’s impact on Kenyans’ health and healthcare system is far from finished. “Our success with the surgery program has inspired Agile to initiate cardiac screening programs throughout Kenya in the near future,” Mr. Kangogo added. “As they say: prevention is the best cure!”
In the photograph above: Geoffrey Mwangi (center), CEO of Kenya’s National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), stands with five beneficiaries of his organization’s cardiac surgery program. The program, which marked its one-year anniversary this month, has so far assisted more than 600 Kenyans with locally-provided cardiac interventions.
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Agile Global Health (operating as A&K Global Health in select countries) is an Agile Health Systems company and a worldwide leader in realizing transparent, affordable, effective and innovative solutions to complex healthcare delivery challenges. We listen to local and national healthcare leaders in every country where we work, and then support their vision to improve their national health system’s accessibility, quality, and clinical outcomes. For patients, we connect you with the right care for your needs, from facilitating quality local and regional treatment to coordinating international medical travel; for healthcare funders and providers, we optimize your organizational impact by introducing transparency, control and customization to the medical, financial and experiential aspects of your clients’ medical journey. Contact us today to learn how we can support you.