Antara CEO Interview: Making Great Healthcare Available To Everyone

Kebba Jobarteh, Antara Co-founder and CEO

1. Why does health matter to you?

I became a doctor because I believe that health is a fundamental human right. Health is the basis of everything - it makes it possible for people to live a dignified life where they can pursue their dreams and build a future for themselves and their families.

I wanted to create a company that can elevate a person’s ability to have meaningful engagements in their society. This is why I have fought hard over the years to bring the best healthcare possible to the largest number of people.

 2. What were your personal experiences with healthcare in Africa?

I have worked in various healthcare settings in Southern and Eastern Africa for the past 15 years. From working in impossibly crowded wards of public hospitals to helping with the management of national programs and healthcare systems I have seen many sides of healthcare, and learned how much can be done if you are able to leverage latent capacity and tell a coherent story to access resources. I’ve helped build clinics for children with HIV, helped rebuild district health infrastructure, trained hundreds of community health workers to accompany patients in poor rural areas and helped scale up programs to serve millions of people. I’ve had the great privilege of training nurses, doctors and clinical officers to provide the best care possible and not stop at the best care available.

One of the things that I learned from my experience is that effective healthcare requires healthcare systems to walk with their patients before they get sick, once they’re sick and after they have been treated. Our existing healthcare system is hyper-focused on care for  patient’s once they’re sick and essentially leaves them to their own devices before and after. This is less healthcare and more of a “sick-care” system.

If we can design systems that make it possible for people to be accompanied in their healthcare journey, everyone from patients to employers to healthcare providers will benefit.


3. What's the vision and mission of the company?

Our mission at Antara Health is to be a company that anyone, anywhere would trust to care for their loved ones. To us this means that it is our duty to be a company that people can trust to care for those that they love, that companies will trust to take care of their employees and a company that nations will trust to take care of their citizens. 

Our vision is to scale patient-centered healthcare for everyone. Antara is doing this by designing a system that understands the complexity of people’s lives in the real world and creates a system that is able to account for those realities and then effectively provide the highest quality healthcare to anyone.


4. What inspired you to start Antara?

When my grandmother got sick in Gambia, I wanted to get in touch with the doctor taking care of her. I tried reaching him through my cousins and even on the phone but could never get through. I had no way to gain insight into the care that my grandma was getting, it struck me that the system was not designed around her needs. Here I was, this highly trained and experienced doctor, and all I could do to support her care was send money. Money is never enough to ensure effective healthcare.

This experience with my grandmother inspired me to start Remit-4-Health, a company focused on setting up a patient-centered healthcare system for people in the diaspora to buy for their loved ones back home. We partnered with several companies in Kenya and had nurses who’s entire job was to coordinate and facilitate and support our members on their healthcare journeys. We later got out of the niche diaspora market and brought onboard new co-founders with whom we launched Antara Health with the goal of creating the best healthcare experience anybody in Kenya, and beyond, can have. 


5. What are Antara’s Company Values?

Our first value is Patients First. In everything we do, we ask ourselves if it is going to positively impact our patient’s lives. We focus on improving our patients’ healthcare, their experience, and empowering and engaging our patient’s in their healthcare journeys.

Our other value is relentless focus on Customer Value - where “customer” can mean anyone who pays for care, be it individuals, associations, or employers as well as insurers and other stakeholders in the healthcare sector. We are focused on giving our patients what they need and want. We believe that when we focus on patients, customer value becomes very evident.

Data Over Intuition is another core value at Antara is data over intuition. When people make decisions based on intuition, they are likely to be rigid. When data is used effectively, you are able to unearth new insights and ideas and approach things differently to get the outcome that we want. As a result of this value, we’ve designed many of our systems around the reality around us.

Last but not least, is the values that We Are In This Together. We’re together on this journey with our members, the companies we work with, the insurers we’ve partnered with, among others. We do not have an us vs them mentality but rather we believe that we are partners.


Are you a new member? Get started by downloading Antara’s App today