We practice ‘Sick care’ and not patient care in Nigeria – Nkechi Oti
When healthcare is mentioned in Nigeria, it is usually referring to managing one ill health or another as the culture of preventive medicine is not very common among most healthcare givers and seekers. In this brief chat, Keek’s founder shares the importance of preventive medicine.
Keek’s is part of a Lagos-based Accelerator, made up of 10 women-owned businesses and powered by She Leads Africa (aka SLA) a community that helps smart and ambitious young African women achieve their professional dreams through engaging online content and events. Keek’s is a comprehensive health and wellness cooperation. They seek to create and sustain healthy habits for the individuals they work with.
About Keek’s and founder
My name is Pharmacist Nkechi Oti and I am the founder of Keek’s. At Keek’s we believe that everyone should have a healthcare they enjoy and that is effective for them. So we provide people with knowledge, counselling and coaching to enable them live healthier happier lives. We do this through our counselling sessions for people who want to lose weight, be more emotionally stable or manage chronic diseases.
We also have courses to train medical personnel on counselling to enable them provide better counselling service to their patients.
We have three branches of Keek’s to handle the different services we provide: Keek’s Pharmacy, Keek’s Therapy and Keek’s Institute.
Motivation to start
We started in 2014 officially. This was when we launched Keek’s Pharmacy. I have been practicing as a pharmacist for four years prior to that. And in my practice I had observed a disconnect in patient care. We actually practice sick care in Nigeria, we wait for you to be sick before we treat. And our methods are not holistic. We don’t necessarily treat a person as an individual comprising of emotions and other facets of life, we just treat diseases. I know this may not be true for every medical professional, but it is true for most. And some of them it’s as a result of the system they are in. They are underpaid, overworked and there is no demand for them to rise higher to give better service. Ultimately the patient suffers. So I started out to provide better patient care. My focus was wellness, treating people holistically and helping them reduce their risk factors for diseases. I enjoy interacting with our clients and watching their lives and their health improve. I also love training other medical personnels on counselling and being able to see their patient care improve through what they’ve learnt.
I can’t say it’s been easy, because a lot of Nigerians have become a product of the system, so they wait until they are about to die before they seek medical assistance. So we know our work in public awareness has been cut out for us. We engage in a lot of awareness activities, from radio appearances, online content provision, mass screening and education for people, we speak in a lot of events on various topics from stress management to workplace wellness, we organise corporate wellness programs.
Issues with policies and regulatory agencies
Not necessarily, I am a pharmacist by profession and I have training on patient counseling. I joined the bodies that regulate our practice and I got licensed. The licensing process is a bit tedious, but we still go through it, and our license has to be renewed annually too.
Acceptance and Adoption so far
It’s been really amazing. It encouraging when our clients keep coming back and bringing their friends to sign up. It shows us we are doing something right. With every client we work with we have goals that are set, and we measure them periodically to ensure that they are met. But we are still growing.
Plans for scaling
We hope to set up wellness counseling points in different locations in different cities in Nigeria and hopeful other African cities. We are working with the weight watchers model. This way it is easy for people to access the support they need.
For our training institute, we hope to continue growing our alumni and set up a physical campus at some point.