• 12.20.07


In Kenya, a bare-bones health provider


Set in the grit of a Kenyan shantytown sits the equivalent of a CVS MinuteClinic–minus the electricity. These are HealthStores, clinics–cum–drugstores that provide a new front line in a nation where just 14 doctors serve every 100,000 people and the mortality rate for children is 12%.

HealthStore is the brainchild of pharmacist Eva Ombaka and her business partner Scott Hillstrom. It grew out of a nonprofit they set up in 1997 to help licensed Kenyan medical workers open their own for-profit franchises to treat basic illnesses such as malaria, respiratory infections, and diarrhea–diseases that account for some 25,000 deaths a day in developing countries.

HealthStore locations, identified by a signature black-and-red logo, are strategically located within walking distance of the communities they serve. They make available high-quality medicine at low cost by leveraging the buying power of the network’s 65 outlets. In 2006, those franchises treated more than 400,000 patients, keeping Kenyans healthier while breeding a new generation of health-care entrepreneurs.