Bananas hanging on rope twirl above piles of oranges, onions, and avocados. Through the bananas and a pile of bundled spinach, Florence ‘Auntie’ Nelina stands behind a wire barred window inside her home. Her fruit and vegetable shop sits just outside her home on the street. She wakes up at 5 am each day to catch a ‘matatu’ (small 14 seater van) to the market, a fifteen minute bus ride away, to buy fresh fruits and vegetables to stock her stand. Her fruit and vegetable shop sits just next door to one of Access Afya’s clinics, making Access Afya’s staff some of her best customers.
As a neighbour of the Access Afya’s Kisii Village clinic and ‘Auntie’ to Access Afya staff, Florence was aware of Access Afya’s before there was a clinic. “When they were looking for a place to build it, I advised them to do it here, at the location next door. It is a good location because I have stayed here for ten years; I know the area very well,” she says.
Florence was inclined to work with and support Access Afya because “they know how to treat people well.” More so, Florence says, “when we see something from Europeans, we trust it more because we think it’s not corrupt.”
Florence noted ways in which Access Afya is different from other clinics and chemists in the area, “Access Afya is not after money, they are wanting to help more. Other clinics are very serious – they just want money, money, money. With Access Afya, you are welcomed first.” Feeling comfortable with clinical staff is important to Florence. “They know how to welcome patients and treat them well.”
Florence likes the layout of the Access Afya clinic because it creates a more personal, private environment for patients. “There is a doctor talking with you in a private room, not through a window. I may have private issues and can’t talk outside with the chemist,” she says.
With the Access Afya clinic Florence says, ‘People even from far away are coming from what they have heard.” She tells us that what people traveling have heard is the treatment of patients and trust one can build with the doctor. People are also coming for the original medications that are always in stock. “Chemists are not very active with painkillers. They don’t have a lot and maybe they are out of something,” she says.
For many like Florence having the clinic close by helps, “we don’t go far, it’s very near.” Whenever there is an illness or health issue in the family, Florence goes to Access Afya. She takes her children to the clinic for treatment when she sees problems, when they have a cough or seem sick. Florence likes that the medicines work right away to help her children feel better faster.
Living next door to Access Afya has advantages other than health care. Florence is always on duty working at her stand – welcoming and speaking with community members and patients during the day as they come and go from the clinic. Even at night Florence says, “I feel like Access Afya’s security when the clinic is closed.”
“We haven’t seen anything like it,” she says about the Access Afya clinic. “They have everything, even injections.” She only asks Access Afya to expand their lab services so they can help more people and not refer them to hospitals for such services.