Designing a health financing product 

The challenge

Partner : PharmAccess Foundation & FSD KenyaHow might we offer a health financing mechanism to lower-income Kenyans that supports them in financially dealing with health shocks and positively impacts their health and livelihoods?


● To understand potential users' lives, context, needs and pain points in accessing affordable healthcare● Design a prototype for product MVP● Explore value-added services to bundle onto the health credit● Explore how to frame and communicate the product

Our approach

We used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the lives of low-income earners’ needs, challenges and desires in relation to health expenses and financing through credit. The research yielded insights which allowed us to create, test and iteratively refine Afya Credit prototypes.

  • 1-1 Contextual interviews

    The research involved interviewing, observing, and carefully documenting attitudes and behaviours of potential users. We conducted the sessions to understand the drivers and barriers to health credit uptake, use and growth.

  • Participatory concept design sessions

    Co-design, prototype creation and testing around user needs, expectations and ideas on digital credit. The direct feedback received from participants informed the design of new prototypes as well as improvement of features, value propositions, incentives and product messaging. The iteration process led to the overall creation of Afya Credit.

  • Key stakeholder interviews

    We interviewed health facility officials with differing levels of responsibility such as clinicians, administrators, receptionists and pharmacists. They have in-depth and expert knowledge of the health ecosystem and potential opportunities or pitfalls for Afya Credit.

Topic areas

Health, inclusive finance, digital product design

Project type

Market research, data analysis, prototype development and testing

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PharmAccess Foundation wants everybody to access better-quality care when they need it, not just when they can afford it. We collaborated towards making this vision a reality
The project was divided into two phases:The first phase involved a quantitative study to understand how the target market responds when health shocks occur and if existing financial options in the Kenyan market met people’s needs.
The objective of Phase 2 with Spindle Design was to develop a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) that will allow low to middle-income people in need of healthcare to seek treatment first and repay their medical bills later, all through their mobile phones. We collaborated with PharmAccess in providing a contextual analysis of the market and iteratively designing the MVP with users.

Key learnings on the MVP design:

Research indicated that users, especially in rural areas, know about digital credit products but are hesitant to take them up without first connecting in some way with those offering it.

We found that the resolution of one health event might require visiting multiple health-related facilities, and the solution's user experience needed to consider context switching.
Many users are open to taking Afya Credit as they often struggle with health expenses. Convenience, privacy, long tenors and ease of access are some loan interest drivers.
Need for a strong alignment of incentives to encourage repayment and reduce credit dependence.



    Developed product concepts and a refined MVP for pilot testing
    The product launched and is currently in the market enabling low-income consumers to access affordable quality heath care

Simplify the registration by collecting key KYC information.Verify details and a users' credit score in the back end by integrating with services like IPRS to verify identity and CRB to check their creditworthiness.


Case studies


PharmAccess - MomCare

This assignment aims to support PharmAccess in researching, designing and prototyping a financial solution that enables pregnant women to access quality health care. To learn how MomCare will increase informal pregnant women's financial participation in accessing quality healthcare, resulting in better maternal and child outcomes.


Access Afya: FSD Utamu

Access Afya was founded on the belief that innovation can flow from the ground up. They opened their first clinic in Mukuru slum in 2012 and have operated almost exclusively in informal settlements and hired a third of their team (staff) from these settlements.


Kenyan Microwork Ecosystem

Mercy Corps, Appen, and Celo have formed a partnership to solve youth unemployment and underemployment in Kenya by providing vulnerable youth an opportunity to engage in microwork. The microwork shall be provided by Appen, done on a mobile application provided by Valora, and paid by a unique cryptocurrency that can be converted to Kenya shillings using the Celo app.



The project aimed to understand the need for a digital seed exchange platform.



There are four different pillars to the products offered by Meerkat, with each having a separate point of contact and interaction for the client/ user. This provides a cluttered, unfragmented user experience through the overall product offering..