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Engaging panel at Africa Works on mobile health and technology

With 90% of people owning a mobile phone in the African continent, mobile technology is not only key for social interactions but has increasingly become instrumental for information sharing, money transfer and now health.

  • Nov 15, 2016

On Friday, 11th November four panelists; Alice Machichi (Senior Program Manager M-TIBA, PharmAccess), Marjolein Ooijevaar (Senior Portfolio Manager, Amref), Ties Kroezen (Venture Manager, Philips Africa Incubator), Dorien Mulder (Investment Manager, Medical Credit Fund) joined moderator Kwasi Boahene (Director Advocacy, PharmAccess) in a discussion on ‘Accelerating Better Health and Wealth through Digital Technology’ as part of the Africa Works! Conference.

Kwasi kicked off the event by inviting each panelist to introduce the role of technology and mobile technology in the program solutions provided by their organizations.

Ties explained that although Philips has been working in Africa for over 100 years they are yet to reach 95% of population. He was keen to explain “that the cheapest way to improve healthcare is not by improving delivery but through prevention’’ and went on to share how the development of preventable health solutions such as Community Care Services and Respiratory Rate Monitor’s will be instrumental in increasing their reach.

In Dorien’s introduction she explained how “traditionally, doctors don’t trust banks and banks don’t want to lend to doctors. Medical Credit Fund (MCF) aims to bridge this gap’’. She went on to describe how new avenues for the fund include receivable financing, loans up to USD2.5m & mobile cash advances.

The role of partnerships was a prominent theme during the discussion as the panelists shared how they work together as well as with other complimentary partners to launch technological health solutions.

Solutions such as M-Hakika, launched by PharmAccess in collaboration with Amref Flying Doctors, which brings together knowledge, quality and financing of healthcare for women and their families in Kenya with a mobile health wallet as key component.

The importance of non-profit and private partnerships was also highlighted with Phillips and MCF explaining how clinics wishing to purchase Phillips medical equipment can gain access to an MCF loan at favorable rates.

Alice went on to introduce M-TIBA, which allows people to send, save and receive funds for healthcare services through their mobiles. Launched in June 2016 she shared how the wallet has already seen huge success in Nairobi and is now being rolled out across Kenya. This success, she explained, was thanks in part to working and developing a strong partnership with Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile network.

Kwasi closed the session by asking each of the panelists to share key challenges that they are facing. Ties highlighted the need to provide long term sustainable solutions and Alice shared how M-TIBA’s huge potential could present challenges in remaining focused.