Rosemary, a doctor specialising in Public Health, started a private health clinic in her community of Kampala, Uganda, in 1996. In the beginning there was one doctor and two nurses. Rosemary worked to increase the services offered to meet the growing demand. She built a bigger facility for her current clinic Span Medicare, which receives an average of 1500 consultations a month. Rosemary says what she enjoys most as a leader is having a good team, “because if as a team you are doing your best you are able to guide and support each other, the job is rewarding”.
Sebastian is a business professional born in Germany, currently working in South Africa. Having been to Uganda and specifically to Kampala before, helped him understand the background of this project.
The main challenges included: increasing demand for new services from patients, fund constraints that limit the possibility of growing according to the high expectations, competition and the economy. Also, the risk of compromising current services in an effort to grow. There were two main objectives: setting up a unified accounting system internally and marketing services to increase profitability. The approach used included SWOT analysis, financial modelling and a break-even analysis for a potential project involving the possibility of building an extra story to the clinic. The project included some competitive analysis in the area and customer segmentation as well. Marketing efforts aimed at identifying ways to face competition with other hospitals, other clinics and NGOs.
Based on the clinic’s projections it was decided there was room for additional hires. The objective was to use the available resources more efficiently and add workforce to strengthen service and marketing operations, instead of investing in the expansion of the clinic at this moment. Four new people were hired, mainly for customer care, outreach and marketing. Two of these were students who had just finished college and were doing internships. Rosemary increased her marketing efforts and targets, and planned new ways to face future competition. She incorporated the measurement of customer satisfaction and feedback, which is used to improve services. Span Medicaid’s profits increased by 25% after the project.
“We benefitted a lot from the interactions with Sebastian, the discussions we had and the guidance we got. With new analysis we were able to see the opportunities we had in the community. We were able to look at our profitability more seriously than before in order to improve our services. Also, creating jobs is a challenge, and it is gratifying at the same time.”
“I was impressed that we could get down to business very quickly. Rosemary has a solid clinic, and we were able to build on that. The method based on 12 sessions worked perfectly for us. This was a very useful experience. Uganda is a growing country; having a private clinic in an African capital can only be a winner with the right strategy.”