Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) have enabled the adoption and use of Digital health in Africa. According to Olushayo et al., 95% of the world’s population lives in areas with access to mobile networks and more than seven billion mobile subscriptions globally.
Nevertheless, Mobile phone and internet penetration are still low compared to the global average but sufficient for the adoption of Digital health on the continent. Digital health comprises of mHealth – the use of mobile telephone technology to provide health information and services; e-learning – means for health professionals to get online health education; and telehealth/telemedicine – the provision of remote health care services.
Hellomed is a health tech startup in Rwanda that aims to provide an online platform where patients can request, book a doctor, and order medication regardless of where they are. In addition, Hellomed takes care of patients through medicine delivery for patients with chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B & C, Diabetes, and Heart Diseases.
Other Conditions that can be treated with the help of Hellomed are common issues such as fever, cough, cold, Flu, headache, migraines, sore throat/strep throat, ear infections, sinus infections, and nasal congestion. Gastrointestinal-related conditions include upset stomach, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, and Indigestion. Injury-related conditions include joint & back pain, cuts & scrapes, urine & vaginal infections; respiratory-related issues include asthma, infections, colds, bronchitis, and seasonal allergies. Skin-related diseases such as rashes, dry skin, acne, and scabies.
Health screening such as blood pressure screening & counseling, cholesterol counseling, travel medicine, sports physicals, and other physicals. Eye-related conditions include eye infection, eye irritation, pink eye, and stye. Family planning & immunization is also offered on the platform.
“My biggest desire is to solve the issue of health care inaccessibility. A lot of communities, especially in sub-Sahara, have no access to basic health care leading to premature death and a lot more health complications”, says Aloys Rukundo, Founder and CEO of Hellomed.
Why should Hellomed be trusted?
Hellomed works with qualified, motivated, and experienced doctors from well-known hospitals. Additionally, the Hellomed app keeps all the records for future uses, where treatment records are added to digital medical history, reducing patients’ time to fill out their forms. This contributes to time management. The use of Digital technologies for health has a lot of benefits. Foremost, it provides access to health care services for people who live in hard-to-reach areas. Secondly, they provide safe and quality healthcare services and products.
Additionally, they allow access to health information by knowledge provision to health workers and other communities, which, in turn, leads to the productivity of health professionals and good practices in terms of health services. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some health-tech startups with the same mission as Hellomed’s contributed to ending the spread of Coronavirus by providing Telemedicine visits with health practitioners and virtual evaluations for Health maintenance.
Telemedicine can be referred to as the use of telecommunications technology to deliver health care services such as exams remotely and consultations to patients. It enables diagnosis and treatment of patients from their homes using their technology.
According to Itai et al., Some Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa successfully adopted telemedicine. Those countries are Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya. For instance, Nigeria used telepsychiatry to spread mental health information and access mental health services. Kenya used a virtual online training program to enable mental health professionals to acquire psychological first aid training required to counsel patients in lockdowns. Tanzania leveraged Teleconsultation to reach 118 patients after 216 inquiries and 45 pediatric consultations.
Norrsken House Kigali with the Novartis Foundation supports Hellomed to innovate.
Hellomed is part of the 30 health-tech startup challenge winners with a full-year subsidy to the HealthTech Hub Africa co-working space and community within the Norrsken House Kigali, an entrepreneurship hub that offers training, capital, network, advice, and an innovation program to entrepreneurs. Some startups within the Hub aim to solve the population’s health challenges using digital means.
Digital health should therefore be embraced owing to its numerous positive impacts on the health sector. Therefore, Hellomed promises to take health tech to another level by offering a virtual consultation platform for all patients regardless of their location within the country of Rwanda