Imperial Health Sciences' clinic initiative scoops award
Imperial Health Sciences’ Unjani Clinic initiative won the Investing in the Future and Drivers of Change Business Award at the recent Investing in the Future Awards, hosted by the Mail & Guardian and Southern Africa Trust.
This annual event is aimed at recognising and honouring good corporate citizenship.
Following an investment of more than R7 million in its Unjani Clinics project, Imperial Logistics group company Imperial Health Sciences became the first private sector organisation in South Africa to start a nurse owned and operated primary healthcare network.
Imperial Health Sciences managing director Dr Iain Barton stressed that there is an urgent need for transformation in South Africa’s health system, where almost 90 percent of the country’s population relies on the stretched and under-resourced public healthcare system.
“Our aim is to contribute to this transformation with the setup of a network of franchised ‘Unjani Clinics’, which meet the need for primary healthcare in poor communities by providing essential medicines and education at the point of need.”
He explained that the clinics are owned and operated by professional nurses. He said: “Thus, in addition to providing an affordable and accessible service for the poor who would otherwise spend vast amounts of time and incur travel costs to receive attention at a state healthcare facility, it also empowers black women, by creating entrepreneurial opportunities for professional nurses.”
The franchise model sees the professional nurse increasing her ownership share annually based on an agreement with Imperial Health Sciences.
“Further employment opportunities are created due to the need for administration support staff at the clinic, as well as cleaners and other service providers. “Each clinic creates between three and five sustainable jobs, and produces real, localised enterprise development that empowers women,” Barton adds.
The judges of the Investing in the Future Awards praised Unjani for its partnerships, rating it as “a feeder model that works in rural areas. It’s innovative and can be replicated,” the judges said.
The pilot Unjani Clinic has been operating in Etwatwa, Gauteng, for two years. Imperial Health Sciences now has seven fully franchised Unjani Clinic units – at Etwatwa, Orange Farm, Nellmapius, Bram Fischerville, Villa Lisa in Gauteng; at Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga; and Delft in the Western Cape.
Based on the success of the project to date - each of the seven clinics sees between 150 and 500 patients per month – the company plans to establish a national network of 400 Unjani Clinics in the next five years.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.