Merck launches an innovative primary healthcare solution in Kenya (CURAFA)

German science and technology company Merck has launched the first of several “Points of Care for Integrated Healthcare Services” units in Kenya. The CURAFA pilot units will improve access, availability, affordability and awareness of primary healthcare services to the communities.

CURAFA points of care are platforms for integrated primary healthcare services, covering clinical and pharmaceutical services including disease awareness and education, along with medicine dispensing and digital health solutions such as telemedicine and disease screening. Further insurance and patient financing schemes as well as a facility experience for the local community, including free WiFi access, are part of the offering.

As part of the pilot, four more CURAFA points of care will open soon in Machakos, Kiambu and Nairobi county.
The word CURAFA is derived from the combination of the Latin word ‘curare’, and the Swahili word ‘afya’, which mean care and health respectively.

The selection of these four counties was based on selecting healthcare underserved locations that neighbor Nairobi to facilitate the pilot phase. The goal is to develop a sustainable business model to address the primary healthcare needs of the respective chosen communities in collaboration with partners.

The initiative comes at a time where there is heavy focus on “Universal Health Coverage”, which is one of the key pillars of President H.E Uhuru Kenyatta´s “Big 4” agenda.

Speaking at the official launch of the CURAFA pilot in Kajiado County, Deputy Governor Martin Moshisho Martine welcomed the project saying “societies have varying needs and expectations on healthcare solutions. Collaborations to generate primary healthcare access needs for our community is an important step forward for sustainable development. We kindly thank Merck for the CURAFA initiative.”

“CURAFA is a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal #3 Good Health and Well-Being and its target of Universal Health Coverage, which is one of the immediate priorities of the government of Kenya” said Francois Feig, Head of Global Business Franchise General Medicine & Endocrinology at Merck´s biopharma business. “At Merck we do understand the importance of quality and care at affordable prices. CURAFA addresses people suffering from inequalities in primary healthcare access aiming to improve patients´ well-being and allowing them to live to their full potential.”

CURAFA fits well with this agenda as it contributes to leapfrogging Kenya´s healthcare system by avoiding the costly development path where cure is the focus instead of prevention. In this regard CURAFA will also leverage eHealth solutions for screening and management of e.g. cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory and reproductive health. This is in line with Merck´s commitment to providing quality therapies and technology to improve patients’ lives. Further, the CURAFA primary healthcare units in the counties will assist the healthcare system by referring complicated patient cases to higher level facilities. In this way CURAFATM will improve efficiency and effectiveness of patient care.

CURAFA has partnered with several Kenyan organizations and institutions, from medical suppliers, local drug manufacturers to digital solution providers, with AMREF being a key implementation partner. The Merck CURAFA team is eager to continue on the path of collaboration with like-minded partners to ensure future sustainability of the initiative and achievement of its vision to make primary healthcare accessible to everyone everywhere.

About Merck
Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 53,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2017, Merck generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.