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Penda Medical Centre: The Three Investors Behind The 22 Plus Clinics In Kenya

By Isaac Blessings

The healthcare industry is a critical and important part of any country’s system. In Kenya, the health care sector is majorly controlled by the government which runs a chain of government facilities including hospitals and dispensaries in different parts of the country.

However in recent years we’ve witnessed the private sector joining the industry and completely transforming it for the better. 

Here is a story of Penda Medical Centre–a Kenyan health clinic that mainly focuses on offering women quality and affordable health care services. 

Establishing Penda Health Care

Penda Medical Centre is a health clinic that was established in 2012 by Stephanie Koczela, Jonathan Petrides and Nicholas Sowden. The clinic was founded with the aim of making sure that patient-centered healthcare (mainly women) is available in all neighbourhoods in Nairobi.

While speaking with venturesafrica.com, Stephanie who is one of the founders, revealed that during her visits to Mathare slums she would hear of people dying because of lack of treatment and this really bothered her.

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“I had been living in Kenya on and off since 2006. I spent a lot of time in Mathare slums and attended dozens of funerals of people who were dying for totally unnecessary reasons. In most cases, no diagnosis would have been done. We teamed up with Nicholas Sowden and together established Penda health,” revealed Stephanie during the interview.

They opened their first clinic in Kitengela, a location chosen because it is home to an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) which has employed around 10,000 people. These people work long hours but don’t get enough money to get quality health care services. They thought it wise to bring quality yet affordable services to them.

The Success of Penda Health

Since its inception, Penda Health has attended to over 10,000 patients with different diseases and issues. The company has also been able to set up cervical cancer screenings available at affordable rates in all their facilities.

The clinic has also been able to offer a private platform where women can speak up about their issues without facing stigma or judgment. It has been like a safe space for women to not only get treatment but also education and information about women-related issues.

In 2012, it received close to Ksh 10 million shillings from six United States based investors to expand its business. During the exclusive interview, Jonathan, who is among the founders of the clinic, revealed that they are in talks with a group of around 15 investors that are very active in East Africa and are open to invest in healthcare.

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“They are watching our clinics very closely, if we are able to prove that this is a profitable business then they will be interested in supporting the business growth,” he said.

Branches of Penda Health

Currently, Penda Medical Centre has 2 medical centers situated in different parts of Nairobi including Embakasi, Kitengela, Umoja, Githurai 45, Zimmerman, Kawangware, Kayole, Pipeline, Tassia, Ngong, Sunton, Lucky summer, Mathare North, Kasarani, Lang’ata, Kahawa Wendani and CBD along Kimathi Street among many others.

Some of its facilities are accredited by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and clients can use the card to make payments. In 2021, Penda Health had set aside USD1.06 (approximately Ksh116 million) towards the addition of three branches and five more in 2022 on the Coast, eastern, central and Rift Valley regions of the country through an investment by venture capitalists and partners.

The hospital plans to open around 250 clinics in the entire East African countries.

The Leadership of Penda Health

The leadership of Penda Health includes Stephanie Koczela, who is a co-founder and CEO. Co-founders Jonathan Petrides and Nicholas Sowden-who are Chairman and President respectively. 

Other key figures include Karim Moledina who serves as Chief Operating Officer, Salome Mwaura as Director of External Affairs, Dr. Rob Korom as Chief Medical Officer, Caroline Wairimu as Acting Head of People, Rama Siva as Chief Product Officer, Sarah Kiptinness as Head of Medical Services and Marion Kago as the General Manager.

It is important to note that the clinic treats everyone but mainly focuses on women.