The pandemic has made it clear to everyone across the world how important and inseparable health is from our everyday lives. However, there still remain limiting barriers like cost, location, opportunities to access healthcare.
Meanwhile, smartphones have overall improved how we do things, access information, and make our lives better. Health care isn’t any different. Worldwide, there are over 318,000 health-related apps available with more than 200 health apps being added each day, according to IQVIA Institute.
“We’ve seen the power of mobiles in helping more Kenyans access financial services. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that mobile channels are now a prerequisite for healthcare providers and insurers to reach more Kenyans and the uninsured,” shares Moses Kuria – Managing Director, CarePay Kenya.
The use of healthcare-related apps has been known to reduce overall health costs for both patients and providers while increasing convenience for users. It improves the efficiency and speed of delivery of healthcare and eases data collection that may help at a later date when things like dispensing critical information.
Now more than ever the healthcare industry, especially in Africa, needs technology-based solutions. Kenya, as of March 25th had 124,707 COVID-19 positive cases and counting. It is a country with an 85.2 percent internet penetration rate as of December 2020. The need for app developers to help us use the latest tech to help the country sail through the 3rd and subsequent infection waves.
COVID-19 related apps would play a big role in the response to the pandemic by allowing the government to aid the safe lifting of current restrictions, trace infected people, issue self-quarantine guidelines, provide the latest communication to the citizens, and ease the burden on healthcare staff & facilities.
Developers and organizations across Africa have actively taken up the challenge to provide digital healthcare solutions in general and pandemic related. We’ve put together a list of apps that we’ve heard/read about from around the continent that can help improve our access to healthcare and information:
Ask-a-Doc is a service-based platform offering occupational health services, including running paid webinars to corporate organizations training their teams on current issues around the pandemic in the workplace. They also help conduct a risk assessment & generate the mitigation plans against Covid-19.
BYON8 is a Swedish Digital Health company based in Kenya. It was founded by two brothers and their father in 2017 and launched in early 2020. The BYON8 app helps users can check their symptoms for free, learn about possible causes and interact with doctors online for diagnostics, treatment, prescriptions, and referrals. BYON8s vision is to democratize access to healthcare and make it a right, not a privilege.
Hello Doctor is an app that helps users skip the tedious waiting room experience by allowing users to talk or message a Doctor directly. The South African-based app was introduced in Kenya as Sema Doctor in a partnership between Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom. It costs KSh 300 to subscribe and a cover of up to Ksh 10,000.
Inuka.io is a digital mental health service app that anonymously helps people get on track mentally and cultivate wellness. The developers of the Inuka Mental Wellness App are on a mission to set a new global standard for coaching, by combining the power of science and human empathy. Read more in the #ZoomIn on Ankiza Gakunu – CEO, Inuka Africa.
Mbaza is a Rwandese Artificial Intelligence (AI) based chatbot that holds a conversation with a user about Covid-19. It provides access to valuable information in plain language on any phone at any time. It allows citizens to raise concerns and to provide governments with information on local situations and enables feedback connecting people to the authorities.
MobiMed is a social healthcare platform designed by Brmaja that connects users, doctors, and service providers. The app can be used to store family medical records securely, transfer medical records to your doctor of choice, search and book appointments with a doctor, save medical prescriptions and reports in a clear and proper manner, order medications and diagnostic services, and perform payments online.
mPedigree is a Ghana-based app that uses a unique product identification marker to determine authenticity. Consumers of medical products are simply required to scratch off the label and evaluate a code within seconds using a mobile phone camera or text message.
mSafari is a free-to-use app developed in Kenya by Kisumu’s innovation hub FabLab. It helps trace all the contacts made by an infected person inside PSVs by them inputting a simple code on their phone along with the vehicle registration number. It also tracks the GPS location of the vehicle and is meant to enforce the limited number of passengers in line with the social-distancing measures and signal the relevant authority if the regulation is flaunted.
MyDawa is an app making it possible for Kenyans to purchase medicine and get it delivered right to their doorstep just from their smartphones. MyDawa app has a wide range of products, including a home immunity booster kit to help fight COVID-19 symptoms. They also provide a prescription-only service, which may come in handy for patients on home-based care, who might be unable to access a pharmacy while they recuperate.
M-TIBA is a proven healthcare system integrator that enables Kenyans to manage expenses regarding healthcare. Users can receive, send or save money for ease of access to healthcare services. M-Tiba has so far partnered with over 300 healthcare facilities and has over a million users supporting the drive for universal health coverage in Africa. It was developed and initiated in 2016 by PharmAccess, CarePay, and Safaricom.
Nuru.live is a Kenyan-based app designed by the Open Institute. It is a real-time crowdsourcing platform designed to empower citizen community monitoring on how they are coping during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through real-time data timely interventions can be provided to aid the affected communities, leading to better outcomes for the countries and communities affected by this, and other future crises.
SafeCare4Covid is a free, globally accessible Nigerian-based mobile app that enables healthcare facility staff to do self-assessment using their own mobile phone. It also helps them report on the availability of equipment, staff, and supplies, as well as check on their own processes and knowledge to treat patients for Covid-19 while staying safe.
Sahl Health is a transformation hub that helps everyone live healthier, happier, wealthier, longer lives. They sell Panbio COVID-19 Rapid Antigen test at only KSh 31,000 per set of 25 kits in partnership with Abbott, They also do rapid 15mins testing at Ksh. 2500/- for individual tests & Ksh. 2000 for corporates.
Tiko is an app developed by Triggerise that links girls & young women between the ages of 15-24 with free Sexual Reproductive Health products and services. The app connects users with existing local providers, by building ecosystems of local health services, community organizations, and micro-entrepreneurs.
Wellvis is a healthcare app offering help to users to diagnose themselves and contact medical emergency workers in 15 African countries. It was borne out of the desire to connect people to the right healthcare answers. They have a free 10-minute online course on how to maintain safety and prevent Covid-19 transmission in the workplace for both employees and employers.
In summary, it’s become abundantly clear that there are major economic and financial losses experienced by locking down and restricting movement. In many places, it was necessary for a vast majority of citizens to leave home to be able to make ends meet and survive.
Since on average many people are returning to their workplaces in a big way, it is critical to ensure that health & safety remains a top priority. Therefore, the more mobile & web apps solutions available to help us live our healthiest, and boost productivity in our lives – the better.
Feature Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels