‘This product definitely has the ability to become a disruptor. It can make a catalytic difference in how we enable people to obtain healthcare,’ Princess Mabel said during the press conference.
The Amsterdam Dinner is one of the main fundraising events in the Netherlands. This year, it raised the largest amount in its 25-year history: EUR 913,000. Proceeds go to H-Team, a collaboration between all stakeholders involved in the prevention and care of HIV in Amsterdam, and HealthConnect.
HealthConnect, developed by PharmAccess with support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, enables individuals to transfer money directly into another person’s digital health wallet. It is a platform that can be used by inidividuals as well as other organizations. The money can only be used to pay for healthcare. HealthConnect matches the will to give with the need for healthcare through 21st-century technologies. Wedding FinTech with healthcare delivery in this way fundamentally changes how people can support others and how healthcare financing is currently carried out in resource-poor settings.
‘This platform makes it possible to buy health insurance coverage for an African family for a whole year,’ says PharmAccess CEO Onno Schellekens. ‘We can match individuals on opposite ends of the world based on criteria like their birthday – and provide people, starting in Kenya, with the access to care they need.’
The first families to receive support through HealthConnect live near Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in the slums of Nairobi. Gertrude’s Dr. Robert Nyarango explains the context: ‘Most Kenyans pay for healthcare in cash, not through insurance. This often pushes people further into poverty. With products like HealthConnect, the goal is to move from out-of-pocket payments to using insurance through the mobile health wallet called M-TIBA. Another healthcare financing challenge is that many Kenyans do not have a bank account. Most families do, however, have access to a mobile phone and regularly use that to transfer money through M-PESA. HealthConnect uses this existing digital technology to reach these people directly.’
Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital and the AmsterdamDiner are the first launching partners of HealthConnect. The platform will work together with public and private partners to increase the number of transactions between people, reaching people that couldn’t be reached before. This could potentially lead to a new kind of international solidarity.
‘My hope, first of all, is that this product will encourage people to give,’ said Princess Mabel. ‘There are so many disadvantaged people who do not have access to healthcare, so my hope is that this really helps scale-up the delivery of quality care, especially for the poorest people in the world. Secondly, I hope HealthConnect will help us think more creatively about how you can use modern technologies to provide services to people who would otherwise not get them. This really makes a fundamental difference in the lives of people – at times even the difference between life and death.’
Now, let’s keep this momentum going! Want to donate or learn more about HealthConnect? Please visit www.healthconnectme.org.