Imperial healthcare initiative extends reach

Unjani Clinics has announced a pioneering partnership with Johnson & Johnson to improve the accessibility and quality of primary healthcare available to low-income communities throughout South Africa. The Unjani model focuses on increasing training and business resources to nurses and expanding access to affordable primary healthcare services.

With a current footprint of 20 clinics – all funded by the Imperial Group to date – it is intended to scale to 50 clinics by 2018.

South Africa is experiencing a shortage of trained doctors, with an average of only one doctor available for every 1 000 people. As a result, the bulk of primary healthcare services in rural districts and townships are performed by skilled nurses. Training and business resources for nurses are scarce, however, limiting the level of responsiveness that primary healthcare clinics can provide to local communities.

Unjani’s empowers nurses – the clinic owners – to become community health entrepreneurs, providing them with a local health centre that consists of a 12-metre converted shipping container, medical equipment, as well as ongoing medical, financial management and patient service training.

“In our effort to deliver innovative approaches to public health challenges, we seek out strategic partners, such as Unjani, who are applying creative, proven, locally-driven health solutions that can be scaled nationally and regionally,” says Laura Nel, communication lead for Johnson & Johnson in South Africa.

Unjani Clinics have provided more than 110 000 South Africans with a number of health services, including primary healthcare services, vision screening, wellness services and chronic disease management. The goal is to establish additional clinics, creating additional jobs and treating up to 240 000 patients annually.

Lynda Toussaint, CEO of Unjani Clinics, says, “We have an opportunity to deliver a level of care to vulnerable populations that has never been achieved before. Our objective is to continue to incubate novel, sustainable community health practices in South Africa and potentially in neighboring countries. Our partnership with Johnson & Johnson provides an important catalyst to delivering on the promise of better healthcare for all South Africans.”