Lancet Kenya plans $2.3m expansion into Rwanda with 3 labs in Kigali

Posted on : Thursday , 9th October 2014

Lancet Kenya, a diagnostic laboratory, plans to set up shop in Rwanda from October at a cost of Ksh200 million ($2.3 million) as it looks to cement its regional business.

The money will be spent on equipping the Kigali lab and building three other facilities, including one in Butare.

"Our intention is that by the end of the year, we should have three laboratories in Kigali, after which we will pursue partnerships to increase our footprint," said Dr Ahmed Kalebi, managing director and partner of Lancet Kenya.

The five-year-old lab is partly-owned by Lancet South Africa. Lancet runs 40 laboratories in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

"We have already invested about Ksh100 million ($1.15 million) in setting up this first lab and will inject a similar amount to consolidate the business by placing support structures," he said, adding that Rwanda has a deficit of good diagnostic laboratories.

A report released by the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries said recently that Rwanda had only two pathologists in Kigali and Butare.

"Samples processed through the in-country system require an average of three weeks for results, with a number of samples often lost in transport and processing," said the report, the result of a collaboration with Harvard University.

However, Rwanda is a healthcare success story in East Africa. World Bank’s statistics indicate that the country spent an average of $66 on healthcare per capita in 2012. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi followed with $45, $44, $41 and $20 respectively.

Rwanda’s budgetary allocation to health has seen healthcare reach 90 per cent of the population and helped reduce under-five-year-old mortality rates, malaria and HIV/Aids infection rates.

These gains, Dr Kalebi said, require investment in high quality pathology laboratories.

"Once our independent branches are off the ground, we will go into partnerships with other laboratories or even hospitals in order to increase our presence in Rwanda," he said.

Lancet used a similar strategy in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to grow its revenues to Ksh800 million ($9.2 million).

The company expects expansion in the three markets and the Rwanda venture to increase revenues to Ksh1 billion ($11.5 million).

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