The Yaya Chemist in a smartish downtown Nairobi shopping centre is more than a place to pick up prescriptions or buy cough syrup, shampoo and mosquito spray. In one corner is a tiny consultation room, where customers can have simple tests performed and receive medical advice. It costs roughly 50c to have your blood pressure checked, $2 for blood-sugar levels and $10 for your cholesterol level. In similar pharmacies across Africa, patients can access services from "nutritional consultations" to HIV and malaria tests. Slowly but surely, health is becoming a business in Africa. As countries urbanise, disease patterns change and more people become able to pay for healthcare or buy health insurance. Private companies sense an opportunity. In 2012, a report by the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector arm of the World Bank, estimated that the market for healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa would more than double to $35bn by 2016. In the decade to 2022, it said, some $25bn to $...

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