SevenSeas Abandons Health Care Information Technology Project, Cites Frustration from the Kenya Govt

Seven Seas

Seven SeasTechnology firm SevenSeas was started two decades ago. With a ‘transforming lives and changing communities’ motto, the organization is one of Kenya’s many tech-based organizations that have been reported as success stories.

Founded by Michael Macharia, SevenSeas has also been involved in many projects, including a healthcare collaboration with the Ministry of Health that could have made a significant impact had it not have been subject to cancellation.

Healthcare project dispute

Admittedly, SevenSeas has been in the tech space for a very long time by Kenyan standards. The firm, by sheer competence and market reach, was, in 2017, contracted to deploy the Health Care Information Technology (HCIT) system under the Managed Equipment Service (MES) project.

Its contract was, however, canceled by the Ministry of Health. The Kenyan company was to be tasked with a near KES 5 billion HCIT project, making it one of the nation’s most ambitious and expensive projects. The critical aspect of the project’s details was to meet one of the Big Four Agenda: Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

UHC continues to be fronted as one of President Kenyatta’s goals that will see Kenyans have equitable access to healthcare services before the end of his term in 2022.

According to the Health Ministry, the project was canceled because there was a discrepancy in the contract documents.

Details of the project

Some of the details of the project included the deployment of a hospital information system, as well as improving ICT systems to grow public hospitals across the country. The strategy was to see a better e-Health Strategy that is one of the healthcare IT’s key features.

Besides the ordinary gains from ICT systems, HCIT was projected to reduced healthcare costs among locals that can hardly afford hospital bills.

Founder’s take

Earlier today, Michael Macharia took on Twitter to express his disappointment with the cancellation of the health project, having threatened to take the dispute to court in late 2019.

In his statement, the co-founder details SevenSeas journey, which focused on transforming the private sector in its first decade.

“Between 2000-2009, SevenSeas had significant enterprise successes, having worked closely with major OMEs. Eventually, the OEMs claimed their space after we built a market and got dis-intermediated out of the value chain. We also ventured into other African markets,” says Macharia.

The following decade (2010-2019) saw the organization focus on the public sector through ICT.

SevenSeas started Citizen Service Centres that then grew to Huduma Centre.

“We started Citizen Service Centres that became Huduma Kenya but dis-intermediated out by tenderpreneurs and then ended up with a vision to transform the Ministry of Health,” he adds.

Goodbye Government Healthcare

In line with the brief description above, SevenSeas says it will no longer be offering its services for healthcare, especially with the Ministry of Health anymore.

“Working in the public sector is certainly not for the faint-hearted and not a place for a forward-thinking enterprise. The rules of the game are different and not in any business manual. We leave this sector disappointed and wondering what it will take to see change,” said Macharia.

Enter PoneaHealth

This is a new startup from Seven Seas that will receive focus from 2020 onwards based on the lessons the firm has learned in the past twenty years.

SevenSeas is also looking forward to scaling globally with B2C models in healthcare.

The founder of the firm reports that it will be exciting to see how the new journey develops.

“It will be an exciting and challenging journey. From day 1, we are thinking of scale, impact, transformation, and replicability. The world is flat we can be global citizens, and we do not have to accept mediocrity, corruption or bad governance. You can make an impact globally and in your country,” concludes Macharia.