AAR Healthcare continues to serve as a one-stop shop that is open to all across East Africa, via a private outpatient service offering that continues to evolve
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Callam Waller
As one of the leading medical service providers in East Africa, AAR Healthcare continues to serve as a pioneer of private healthcare to the middle to upper income bracket.
As one of the largest providers of outpatient healthcare services across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – with a network of 36 outlets at present – more than 700,000 clients are served on an annual basis, with no social segment excluded.
Primarily targeting individuals with medical insurance, private cash-paying clients, corporate companies and Mpesa users, AAR Healthcare accepts all medical insurance covers and different modes of payment; subsequently positioning itself as an inclusive brand that prides itself on the human element of healthcare.
“Across our network we abide by the slogan: ‘we are as human as you’,” affirms AAR Healthcare’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Indren Poovan. “We are open to all, and AAR Healthcare has been on the front line of welcoming all people of all medical covers and cash and credit choices since the launch of the KAARIBU Campaign.”
Over that tenure since 1984, AAR Healthcare has become renowned for its differentiating outpatient centres, both in terms of their capabilities and designs. All are located on-site where adequate ventilation, clean water and hygienic sanitary facilities are readily available. Facets of privacy, comfort and close collaboration with staff members are also facilitated in order to create an ambience befitting of its KAARIBU message.
“The KAARIBU message is that we are ‘open to all’ medical insurance covers and also accept all major forms of mainstream payment methods,” Poovan clarifies. “And this is one of the key highlights of AAR Healthcare alongside the expansion of the outpatient centres to most areas of the region.
“AAR Healthcare prides itself on the fact that all our outpatient centres are within close proximity to the major residential areas in Kenya, hence being accessible to customers.”
Other highlights include the growth implemented across specialist services on AAR Healthcare’s journey to becoming a one-stop shop. And in turn, market share has also grown, leading to numerous strategic partnerships with likeminded, major medical insurance providers.
“Today, AAR Healthcare is in all the East African countries, providing emergency rescue and a comprehensive suite of outpatient services,” Poovan says. “AAR Healthcare has grown and offers a diverse portfolio of services; and in line with this, while the Company’s name has changed more than once, it has always retained its values of quality, innovation and excellence.”
Cater for the needs of the population
The significance of longevity should not be overlooked in realising the dreams of its founders, and AAR Healthcare can consequently boast a long, robust history of 33 years. This began with the provision of emergency rescue services before adding health services over the years on its road to becoming a holistic healthcare services provider in preventive, curative and diagnostic domains.
Fast-forward to the modern day, and that same entrepreneurial commitment to continuous improvement is evident; as is epitomised by AAR Healthcare’s latest strategic plan. The strategy commenced – and is already in the advanced stages – of introducing a 100-bed secondary care hospital based in Nairobi.
“The hospital will be a Greenfield Project and will be a state-of-the-art facility offering a unique patient experience. We are aiming to break ground in January, 2018 and the duration of the construction is estimated at 18-24 months,” Poovan explains. “The Greenfield Hospital will provide outpatient services, diagnostic services, obstetrics and gynaecology, internal medicine, general surgery, orthopaedics, paediatrics, ophthalmology, laboratory, physiotherapy, and neuro surgery.
“In addition, the new facility will provide approximately 400-500 job opportunities once operational.”
Simultaneously, the institution is also striving for enhanced processes and results across its bread and butter outpatient portfolio, with key areas of improvement being attributed to the overall management of chronic patients especially.
“We are currently working on a project to determine the make-up of the various pharmaceuticals that are prescribed for the various chronic ailments with a view to costing it and providing it at an affordable price,” Poovan continues. “We are also currently working with Ernst and Young to determine the latest healthcare trends in Kenya.
“The aim is to determine what trends are currently prevalent and how it compares to the global trend so that we ensure our strategic plan is appropriately aligned to cater for the needs of the population we serve as we move forward.”
In being made aware and preparing for such industry eventualities, AAR Healthcare can then react accordingly, as it has done through its KAARIBU wellness programme and indeed the opening of two dental units to once again broaden its patient reach.
Open to all
And as the business expands, so too does AAR Healthcare’s internal infrastructure, beginning with its staff compliment.
“We offer various staff training initiatives that are aligned to the respective career paths, and we also assist clients on a more personal level, offering first aid and life support courses; designed to ensure that lifesaving techniques and safety measures are embraced by rescue staff and the general public alike,” Poovan details. “We are registered as trainers with the National Industrial Training Authority and Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health, and our training team is constituted by a well-trained team of paramedics, doctors and emergency medical technicians.
“All of which are supported by a wide array of advanced medical techniques and equipment to ensure course attendants are well prepared to cope with the worst imaginable situation.”
In total, more than 5,000 individuals are trained each year in East Africa, and Poovan attributes the resultant workforce as the institution’s strongest resource. In doing so, AAR Healthcare is able to tick off one of its core differentiating missions in instilling a culture of care that is integrated at all levels of the organisation.
“We differ significantly from other providers in the region, and not just because of our comprehensive value chain and a wide network of outpatient centres across East Africa,” the CEO notes. “AAR Healthcare has spread its wings across the East African region with 19 medical centres in Kenya, eight clinics in Tanzania, and nine in Uganda. In Kenya the outpatient centres are situated near every major residential area.
“Via our KAARIBU campaign, we are open to all and in addition to this; our brand slogan – ‘as human as you’ – affirms our promise to every client that we will consistently offer healthcare with a human touch at all our centres.”
Risk management, preventive care, affordability, quality and vaccination pricing further separates AAR Healthcare from competitors in the private space, and have been recognised by numerous awards over the years; most recently being presented with the Provision of Excellent Customer Service award by Resolution Insurance in the summer of 2017.
“Our Sarit and Greenhouse outpatient centres in particular contributed to this performance and congratulations are in order,” Poovan concludes. “My overall sense is that in a few years time, the current business model will be completely transformed. AAR Healthcare will be a more diversified business and the Company will have various portfolios other than the current outpatient services.
“The Company portfolio will also consist of various business verticals; namely outpatient services, secondary care services and standalone centres.”