28 weekly installments • 68%
My names are Joshua Kibera Chege. I was born first to a family of 4 boys in Nakuru, Kenya 36 years ago. My home town was small, dusty and largely a farming town in the northwest of Kenya. We were famous for our lake and the many flamingos that live there but now probably more famous for being a refuge town during the post-election violence of 2008.
My childhood was simple and happy. I did well in my studies, later earning a spot at the medical school at the University of Nairobi. My father, Rev. Samuel Kibera was a church minister (now retired) and my mother, Jeri Kibera, a shopkeeper turned nurse assistant. They were elated that I was pursuing my dreams but were soon overwhelmed by the financial cost of taking me through medical school.
I had to transfer to a cheaper medical school after a year. We decided on Makerere University across the border in Uganda. At around this time my father fell ill and my mother's shop had to close down. My parents had to sell precious assets including parcels of land and their car. My mother left the country to look for job that would see me through college. It was a tough time for our family and I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices they made to see me through my days in med school.
Medical school brought the effect that poverty has on health and healthcare into sharp focus. It was extremely disturbing to watch preventable diseases causing suffering and death on a daily basis. In particular, I will never forget the day I stopped a woman who looked lost and confused, pacing the corridors of the medical ward at the teaching hospital.
Can I help you? - I asked. Are you lost?
She stopped, turned and looked at me but didn't answer. I felt like had interrupted her in the middle of an important thought process and I was not sure she heard my question.
How much is does it cost to buy this drug in town? she asked abruptly. I'm told they don't have it here at the teaching hospital.
She handed me a prescription for a drug needed in the treatment of cryptoccocal meningitis. I knew how much the drug would cost having prescribed it several times before.
I can't afford that! She wailed as soon as I told her the price.
Now what am I going to do? I've spent all our money on lab tests and now I have almost nothing.
As we spoke it became clear that she had to choose between buying a drug to save her son's life and buying food for the day. She was desperate - a mother at the end of her means, trying to save her dying son. It felt so hopeless. In my pocket were a few shillings meant for a student's evening meal. I pulled them out and placed them in her hands, mumbled something inadequate and walked away. The whole experience was depressing but it profoundly changed my life. I swore that one day I would do something for people like her.
Today I am married to a beautiful wife and we have been blessed with two lovely boys. We live in leafy Meru, a small farming town in central Kenya. I am a pathologist and my days are spent mostly looking down a microscope and recently, starting a cancer centre serving a region of over 2 million people.
I still think of the woman in Uganda who so touched my life 14 years ago and a life unnecessarily lost.
We have a private pathology laboratory which serves about 3000 patients per year. This year we have partnered with an oncologist to establish a cancer centre in Meru, Kenya to serve a population of over 2 million people.
We recently moved to a new and larger facility. The lab is fully operational but there are some items we have not bought yet so we have not begun treating cancer patients. We need about $25,000 to complete setup of the chemotherapy unit and begin serving patients.
This application is meant to slowly build our line of credit towards this objective. The money will be used to purchase supplies and run the office until we invoice our clients at the end of the month.
I need about $4770 to buy equipment, upgrade the processing ability of my lab and digitize workflow. This will reduce the processing time for each report which means that patients will get their diagnosis faster.
It will also increase the quality of the results by standardizing the report format. This will make the practice more sustainable in the long run.
The money will be spent on an additional microtome, a server, label printers and barcode scanners.
This first loan will buy 3 barcode scanners costing about $65 each. These will be part of a list of equipment needed to install a lab information system (LIS). Future loans will be used to purchase the next missing items on the list. Below is the list of equipment:
1. Barcode scanners - 4
2. Desktop computers - 2
3. Server - 1
4. Label printers - 2
Installation of the LIS should increase the number of patients efficiently served in a day from a current maximum of 15 to hopefully about 40. It should also help us set up systems to follow up cancer screening clients for 3 - 5 years.
Nov 10, 2017
Cost to entrepreneur
Service fee: $7.75