Sometime in 2022, Rosemary Nankabirwa got the shock of her life when her underage daughter was impregnated by another juvenile. Despite the disappointment, Nankabirwa, a teacher by profession, chose to support her daughter through this trying experience.
She started by enrolling the expectant mother at a nearby health centre for antenatal care, and it is here that her story shifted from sadness to one of hope.
“When I came with my child, we were introduced to a product called clinicPesa Mamas by a company called clinicPesa where vulnerable expectant mothers were helped to save money, prepare for safe delivery and receive some medical supplies,” she recalls.
“We enrolled and my child started saving through me and she was given a card,” she says, noting that clinicPesa’s saving platform helped her cover child delivery fees as well as postnatal care.
Harriet Igalu is another subscriber to the clinicPesa Mama’s product. She notes that after she was introduced to clinicPesa in mid-2022, she started to save little amounts in preparation for safe delivery.
“I got to know about clinicPesa last year in June. I was enrolled and started saving small. clinicPesa improved my saving culture. At the time of delivery, I had saved enough money that catered for my hospital bills and also transport to and from the hospital.”
clinicPesa is a FinTech-driven digital healthcare initiative that provides access to healthcare financing that is more convenient and affordable than the traditional insurance through digital micro-loans and a savings platform. Subscribers are encouraged to set aside dedicated healthcare funds used to offset medical bills and purchase drugs in time of need.
According to Eng. Chrispinus Onyancha, the Founder and CEO at clinicPesa, this solution is aimed at solving the challenge of access to health financing because most Ugandans either don’t have or can’t afford conventional health insurance.
“What we have come out to do is create a mobile wallet that enables the public to save from as low as Shs 1,000 on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and they are able to use this money to clear medical bills at any of our partner health centres. In case they do not have enough money, we are able to give them a loan top-up to clear bills and pay later,” he says.
Onyancha notes that they have a partnership with MTN MoMo where one just needs to dial *165*5# and select clinicPesa under the loans and savings option. In there they are able to put in their mobile money pin to accept the terms and conditions and an account is created.
“You can also download our mobile application from Google PlayStore and put in your mobile money number and a prompt will be sent to your phone to confirm your subscription” he explains.
“Conversely, clinicPesa Mamas’ product plays a significant role in mitigating maternal mortality by assisting pregnant women in preparing for the expenses associated with secure childbirth,” he says.
Onyancha further adds that clinicPesa has received tremendous uptake because of the growing appreciation of medical insurance by Ugandans.
“Our customer base has expanded to beyond 780,000, nearing the one million milestone. Presently, we are in collaboration with over 2,490 healthcare facilities throughout Uganda,” he says.
Nonetheless, Onyancha notes that besides the regulatory challenges, startups are curtailed by limited resources for investment due to the global economic recession in the past few years.
“The other challenge is about awareness. People still don’t appreciate saving, especially saving for healthcare. Coming from an angle where most people are biased about insurance where they see it as a loss rather than a gain, it is difficult to transform these mindsets but we are doing our best,” he says.
He however acknowledged that the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative is helping in showcasing the work of startup FinTechs to potential investors, partners, and clients.
“Another crucial component addressed by the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative is fostering awareness of these FinTechs within the community. This visibility promotes understanding of our operations and objectives, assisting our transition from a cash-based society towards a cashless economy,” he says.
As the 37th participant in the fourth season of the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative, clinicPesa is proud to join this collaboration. This initiative is expertly organised by HiPipo and made possible through partnerships with Level One Project, Mojaloop Foundation, INFITX, Cyberplc Academy, Ideation Corner, and Crosslake Technologies, with significant backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The initiative highlights innovative stories that are changing the lives of under-served communities.
According to HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya, this year’s initiative looks at the user experience of East African FinTechs.
“We are delighted to see an increasing number of individuals embracing Digital Financial Services like clinicPesa, which positively impact the lives of everyday people. “Health is Wealth” perfectly encapsulates clinicPesa’s mission as they are making dignified healthcare accessible to all through their micro-savings and credit solutions,” he noted.