Five Services Transforming West Africa’s Healthcare Industry

With many West Africans opting to travel abroad for the treatment of medical ailments, we take a look at five healthcare services transforming the industry and addressing the challenges head on.

With many West Africans opting to travel abroad for the treatment of serious medical ailments, West Africa’s healthcare industry is one that will majorly benefit from investment in developing digital technologies, niche skills and public-private partnerships.

Here are five healthcare services that have so far been successful and are setting the pace in delivering solutions and transforming the industry.

Flying Doctors – Nigeria

When the state of roads is not suitable for speedy transportation from remote locations to hospitals, how else can a patient with a gunshot wound or an injured worker from a blast at a gas pipeline be transported to a hospital? You can lift them up and over all of those unreliable factors. This Lagos-based company does exactly that.

The combination of unreliable roads and no air ambulance service in the West Africa region, provided Dr Olamide Orekunrin with the perfect opportunity to start Flying Doctors. What better way to provide quality medical attention efficiently to a patient that needs it, than in free air space en-route to the hospital?

Flying Doctors has been successfully operating for 10 years and was the first air ambulance service in the West Africa region. They currently have the largest network of ground and air ambulances in West Africa.

Dashmake – Togo

While Flying Doctors redefines the standards for rescue emergency services in Nigeria, Dashmake in Togo is helping nearby witnesses of vehicular accidents and fires to access real-time first aid instructions provided by the company’s SOS mobile app. Dashmake’s SOS mobile app makes sure you know what to do and how to do it right.

The SOS system has different aspects to help in the exchange of information for different purposes. The system includes QR bracelets provided by Dashmake, an SOS Supervisor map, and the SOS mobile app.

The SOS mobile app launches a signal geo-locatable on the SOS supervisor map by rescuers and insurers. Rescuers receive the signal, respond to it and can provide real-time first aid advice to apply to victims. The SOS mobile app also allows access to health history of victims by scanning the QR codes of bracelets carried by the victims, provided by Dashmake.

The geo-location system was launched in 2017, with Dashmake originally starting out in mobile app development, web design and specialising in 2D & 3D animated video games.

GenKey ClaimSync – Ghana

The company was first known as ClaimSync before it was acquired by Dutch company, GenKey in 2013.

ClaimSync is a Ghanaian software provider that offers hospitals and insurers a next-generation platform for digitising and processing medical records and claims.

Rolling out a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Ghana has reaped results to some extent. About 40% of the population currently subscribes to the scheme, with that number expected to increase. However, one significant factor holding back the financial sustainability of the NHIS is the fact that paper health insurance claims breeds the potential for fraud and abuse in the claims management system, thereby making an efficient claims management system a dream for Ghana.

To counter the problem, GenKey ClaimSync has introduced an electronic claims management system which reduces fraud and abuse and ensures the financial viability of health insurance organisations.

IKON Tele Radiology App– Mali

It is no secret that, mobile phones and the internet have transformed the development of Africa’s landscape over the past 10 years. As a result, Telemedicine has taken off in West Africa in more ways than one. The IKON app is simply one of many worth mentioning.

Mali’s rural clinics only cater for basic general health needs, so when a patient comes in requiring specialist attention, clinics in rural areas tend to fall short, leading to patients having to be referred to the country’s capital, Bamako, to receive the necessary treatment.

One specialist area that has become a burden on the city’s hospitals is radiology.  The solution to the problem is the IKON Tele-Radiology app.

The IKON app uses the internet to mitigate the shortage of specialist doctors in Mali’s rural areas. Doctors in rural clinics can use their mobile phones to conduct scans of patients. Then, forward the scans to specialists in the major hospitals in Bamako via the internet. So that they can receive an offer on a diagnosis and advise on treatment for the patient at the rural clinic.

Tutorat – Senegal

Tutorat is a program for medical staff in Senegal’s rural medical facilities that is aimed at mentoring and coaching medical staff in the clinics while they do their jobs. Tutorat aims to make higher quality services available to communities in Senegal.

The program was implemented by IntraHealth, the Ministry of Health and Social Action in Senegal in 2008. They first implemented the program in six regions in the country.

In 100 rural facilities that used Tutorat’s services, there was an 86% increase over six months in the number of women choosing long-acting reversible contraceptives; proving that Tutorat brought results and will continue to do so.