Innovating health service provision in Mpumalanga

The Kwaggafontein community in Mpumalanga, in South Africa, is witnessing the steady development of Unjani Clinic. Unjani, the trading name of Baengele Health Services clinic, known in the area as being the place ‘that brings back life’. These operational developments follow the decision by Raizcorp, Africa’s only unfunded for-profit business incubator, and the Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) to take the clinic under their wing as a business incubation project.

MIC, the active equity investor, announced the launch of the entrepreneur incubation programme late in 2013. Baengele Health Services was one of the businesses which qualified for the Raizcorp initiative which was designed to build critical mass for black-owned micro businesses and foster grassroots job creation.

“MIC interviewed ambitious entrepreneurs who showed that they have the potential to succeed. We saw this attribute in Baengele,” said MIC investment manager Zaheer Abdulla. Based on research which showed residents of the Kwaggafontein community desperately wanted quality health care and were willing to pay for it, Gugu Phetla and Angela Make established Baengele Health Services, a one of a kind private clinic in 2012. Baengele means ‘angel’, a fitting name for this bespoke business which was created to relieve the burden of disease in the community of Kwaggafontein. The dire situation prompted Phetla and Make to start a clinic, which offers affordable private primary health care to the local community. They proactively manage the care of patients from their clinic which is located 100 metres from the local hospital.

The Unjani Clinic is being steadily developed
The Unjani Clinic is being steadily developed

“We deal with about 30 patients a day, so having Raizcorp on board was like having a personal guide. My advisor is wonderful and holds my hand with every business decision I make,” said Gugu Phetla, co-founder and chief of operations of Unjani clinic. “Raizcorp put all the financial disciplines we needed in place, and is helping us to expand. We are hoping to open another clinic in Nelspruit or close to the centre. Without the support from MIC and Raizcorp I doubt we would be where we are today.”

“Nursing is a profession that offers an opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of people who truly need and appreciate personalised medical care. This is what Baengele Health Services provides.” – Gugu Phetla, co-founder and chief of operations of Unjani clinic

When both partners felt it was time for expansion they sought guidance and support. The programme provided full sponsorships for 10 entrepreneurs, creating access to the proven mentoring and business development processes pioneered by Raizcorp. The entrepreneurs had to be based in and around Witbank (eMalahleni), an area with strong ties to the mining and energy industries – a key point of focus for MIC initiatives.

“We are able to spend time with our patients. We explain what their condition is all about in a way that is simple to understand. This is something hospital staff does not have time to do. We are compassionate, reassuring and provide sincere support. Because we are concerned citizens, this has attributed so much to our success. We also provide effective pain management, especially for older patients and provide proper nutritional supplements to boost their energy,” said Phetla.

Baengele Health Services is gaining ground in the medical sector and transforming the standard of health care that Kwaggafontein residents come to expect of their service providers.

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