Unjani Clinic

Unjani Clinic

Unjani Clinic  overview

Why Unjani Clinic?

The state of healthcare in South Africa is in need of urgent transformation.We suffer from a triple affliction: the pandemic of HIV/AIDS/TB, preventable conditions arising from socio-economic determinants and the poverty cycle and a growing amount of non-communicable disease affected by lifestyle (CDE, 2011: 11).  88% of the population are dependent on an overburdened public health sector. This is aggravated by the fact that the provision of care is focused on hospitals (curative-care) rather than on health prevention and promotion in communities. The cost implications for the wider health system are huge with a cost of R105 at a primary healthcare facility compared with a hospital cost of R320. Healthcare is better organised and supported in suburban areas compared to informal settlements and rural areas, where the majority of the population face challenges to access primary healthcare due to time, cost and reach (cost to travel far distances).

Unjani Clinic engages the underserved and lower income population as customers, offering them community access to quality primary healthcare at prices they can afford. The model has been designed with a BOP (Base of Pyramid) focus in mind facilitating franchisee incentivisation through the franchise arrangement, rapidly scalable and exceptionally low cost “back-end” infrastructure. Our network of clinics empowers women within these communities by providing them real business ownership and economic benefits from the fee for service model. Unjani Clinic is a tested business model that ensures commercial viability and therefore creates between 3-5 sustainable jobs per clinic and produces real, localised enterprise development that empowers women. It is an affordable, accessible and quality healthcare offering that provides the lower end of the market with an attractive treatment alternative and real potential to improve healthcare outcomes. We used population estimates, national primary healthcare infrastructure, primary healthcare national expenditure, non-hospital public health expenditure per capita by district, GDP contribution per province and primary healthcare process indicators to determine the number and geographic distribution of the 400 clinics.

There are four main logics behind this initiative: “third option”, owner operator, franchise network and business logic.  As a “third option” for low-end consumers Unjani Clinic plays a critical role in the promotion of preventative healthcare and empowerment of the “patient” through compliance and adherence management. The owner operator aspect of the model provides an alternative to traditional forms of employment enabling more people to be able to participate in economic activity whilst understanding the realities of the communities which they serve. Given the acute shortage of healthcare workers in South Africa, this model enables task shifting from doctors to nurses building the first ever nurse owned and operated primary healthcare network in South Africa. The franchise logic enables scalability and replication. Quality standards, economies of scale, efficiency, sustainability and consistency are leveraged across the network by franchisees for the maximum benefit of the patients. For Imperial Health Sciences the overriding business logic is to be a catalyst for the growth of new markets for our clients to ensure the continued existence of sustainable businesses within our supply chain. Through servicing a segment of the population which is currently not being served, Unjani Clinic has huge potential to grow our pharmaceutical and consumer clients’ sales volumes and provide an opportunity for innovation around repackaging traditional offerings for affordability in this market.


Unjani Clinic vision

  • Channel to Bottom of the Pyramid market;
  • Develop sites for public & private sector central dispensing;
  • Logical community based delivery points for B-C (Business to Client) channel;
  • Network of 400 clinics across South Africa; and
  • Affordable healthcare at point of need.