Boehringer Ingelheim and PharmAccess launch digital healthcare program in Kenya


Using mobile technology to break access and awareness barriers in hypertension and diabetes: that is what the new ‘Tiba Yako’ program strives for. The initiative was launched recently in Nairobi, Kenya, by Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and PharmAccess, a non-profit organization that works to improve access to quality healthcare in Africa. Tiba Yako seeks to support care for patients in Nairobi, Kiambu and Vihiga County through screening sessions, clinical care and home-based monitoring as well as digital awareness and adherence advice. The mobile phone is the linking pin in this integrated approach.

Core of the Tiba Yako program is a digital payment platform for inclusive healthcare called M-TIBA. M-TIBA, developed by Pharm Access and partners, enables people to save, send, receive and pay money for medical treatment through a mobile health wallet on their phone. The digital platform allows for a more efficient and transparent way of connecting patients, doctors and payers as it is based on a constant flow of almost real-time data. Within the Tiba Yako program, M-TIBA will now also provide access support for hypertension and diabetes care in selected clinics of the country.

The program allows patients to monitor their blood pressure and blood glucose levels at their convenience at home, digitally sending the results to their doctor for review. Combined with digital awareness and self-management support through an innovative app called Afya Pap, this integrated approach aims to increase symptom recognition and treatment adherence.

The data that is collected in real time through the M-TIBA mobile wallet as well as the home monitoring guides doctors and healthcare providers in their health population management. For Payers, the real time data insights in the costs, efficiency and quality of care means an improved cost-efficiency. This could stimulate insurers to enlarge their addressable market to lower socio-economic levels than their current patient base.

The Tiba Yako program is in line with the ‘In Reach Africa’ initiative of Boehringer Ingelheim, which aims at facilitating quality and access of human and animal healthcare across the African continent. “Our fundamental priority in the region is to develop solutions that enable screening and education. With Tiba Yako, we have a clear strategy in place to improve access to healthcare for those in need’’, said Ayman Eissa, Head of Human Pharmaceuticals across the Sub Saharan Africa at Boehringer Ingelheim.

There is currently an unmet need for efficient and widely accessible care for hypertension and diabetes in Kenya. The prevalence among adults is high, with low levels of awareness, treatment and control. The high mobile penetration rates in Kenya – also amongst the low-income groups – creates massive opportunities for direct service and financing models. Digital technology can be used to increase healthcare access for people who are currently underserved and enables people to self-manage and control their disease from home.

Notably, over 50% of patients with diabetes or hypertension are not aware of their diagnosis. Many have scarce knowledge of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or are not compliant with treatment. Chronic diseases such as diabetes have serious implications if left uncontrolled, including microvascular damage to blood vessels, and microvascular damage to eyesight, nerves and feet

Boehringer Ingelheim
Improving the health of humans and animals is the goal of the research-driven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. The focus in doing so is on diseases for which no satisfactory treatment option exists to date. The company therefore concentrates on developing innovative therapies that can extend patients’ lives. In animal health, Boehringer Ingelheim stands for advanced prevention.

Family-owned since it was established in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the pharmaceutical industry’s top 20 companies. Some 50,000 employees create value through innovation daily for the three business areas human pharmaceuticals, animal health and bio-pharmaceuticals. In 2018, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around 17.5 billion euros. R&D expenditure of almost 3.2 billion euros, corresponded to 18.1 per cent of net sales.

As a family-owned company, Boehringer Ingelheim plans in generations and focuses on long-term success. The company therefore aims at organic growth from its own resources with simultaneous openness to partnerships and strategic alliances in research. In everything it does, Boehringer Ingelheim naturally adopts responsibility towards mankind and the environment.

Initiative “In Reach Africa”
The ‘In Reach Africa’ initiative by Boehringer Ingelheim aims at facilitating quality and innovative human and animal healthcare access across the African continent. It shares a collective vision of driving accessibility, sustainability and innovation through enhancing health systems in Africa. This is achievable by providing an accessible range of medication and healthcare solutions, increasing awareness of key disease priorities through reach and enriching knowledge and education initiatives. In doing so, this initiative will add more value to the socioeconomic structure by working with and supporting low-income families on multiple fronts.

The program, recently launched in Kenya, is set to expand throughout major African markets including Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

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