Zamzam Medical Services is a health facility located at the foot of the Ngong Hills, approximately 22 kilometers southwest of Nairobi. The facility was started 30 years ago in a single room, by NURSE AND MIDWIFE Esther Muthoni and her late husband, who saw an opportunity to establish the first private health facility in the area.
Today, ZamZam Medical Services offers a variety of healthcare services such as maternal health and family planning, laboratory services, physiotherapy, and dental care, serving around 13,000 lower-income patients annually.
However, the road ahead has not been without challenges, particularly due to the lack of access to credit. As a female entrepreneur, having to continue her journey alone, Mrs. Esther Muthoni faced hurdles in securing the necessary financing needed to grow and improve her business. She lacked the conventional collateral and security requirements demanded by banks. Esther says she almost closed the health facility had she not been introduced to the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), a not-for-profit fund exclusively dedicated to financing small, and medium-sized health enterprises (SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2016 the Medical Credit Fund (part of PharmAccess) launched MCF Cash Advance, a digital loan product. The product allows for fast and flexible financing. Instead of requiring conventional collateral, the healthcare provider’s history of mobile money transactions is used as the basis for the loan. Many patients in Kenya are using mobile money to pay for healthcare services, providing them with financial protection. As mobile payments are received, a designated percentage automatically goes towards repaying the loan, allowing for flexibility in loan repayment in line with the actual income earned. The product is built on Kenya’s advanced mobile money infrastructure, M-Pesa, in partnership with M-TIBA, a digital connector in the health ecosystem enabling the automated repayments of the loan.