Home Interviews “Be Willing to Take Risks”, Kenya’s Award-Winning CEO, Dr. Gitau Tells African Entrepreneurs
Interviews - October 8, 2020

“Be Willing to Take Risks”, Kenya’s Award-Winning CEO, Dr. Gitau Tells African Entrepreneurs

Diana Wangari Gitau, is the co-founder and CEO of Checkups Medical Centre, which utilizes an in-house developed application called iSikCure to provide rapid diagnostics, consultation and prompt drug delivery to people in urban and rural areas in Africa. Gitau is poised to scale the health startup to more Africa countries.

Diana is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Africa 2019 awardee and a David Astor Journalism Award Finalist. Her startup was also a finalist at the SBC AfriTech 2018 and Sanofi Vivatech 2018 in Paris, France, and has won the Get In The Ring Contest 2018 in Hague, Netherlands. She has received accolades at the UNDP Social Good Summit (Geneva).

BEA: Please tell us about yourself.

A: I am Diana Wangari Gitau, a medical doctor and healthcare entrepreneur. I am the CEO and co-founder of a health tech startup based in Nairobi, Kenya. Checkups Medical Centre, utilises an in-house developed technology, iSikCure; to provide access to rapid diagnostics, consultation and last mile drug distribution and we are currently looking to scale from 3 African countries to 6 African countries. Though currently, I am back to being a student and I am an MBA student at Oxford University as a Skoll Social Entrepreneur Scholar.

BEA: How did you discover your vision or what led you into this line of business/career?

A: It has been a long journey that started off with me being a journalist. In my fourth year of medical school, I stood in the middle of a paediatric ward, having failed to resuscitate a young boy of four years and I knew he did not have to die. I was in the biggest referral hospital, but the majority of our patients consisted of those who didn’t need to be there. They had preventable and very treatable conditions that could have been handled in a facility in their towns or villages. And by the time they got to us, the case had often been complicated. I then embarked on a path where I sought to get to patients before they got to me. I started off as a public health journalist seeking to use communication as a tool. But I found that I itched to do more and so I became an entrepreneur.

BEA: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started in business?

A: Business is about growth. You have to evolve just as in life. I started off with one product and now four years down the line, we have three. But this evolution comes with hard decisions including laying off staff and killing your own ideas! We started off as iSikCure, a technology first healthcare solution then quickly failed and learnt from the market. We then had to incorporate a customer touch point, meaning patients were not ready to just log on to their mobile phones to access services, they still needed physical interaction. And that’s how Checkups Medical Centre was born. And I can tell you even in the clinics, we are
continuously growing and improving.

Read the rest of the interview in our digital magazine here: Find it on pages 64 & 65.


Editor’s Note: This interview was originally conducted by Simeon Onoja.

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