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PharmAccess committed to collective action and data-driven approach in response to COVID-19

With COVID-19 spreading across continents, including sub-Saharan Africa, helping the healthcare system prepare is imperative.

  • Apr 07, 2020

The region has a double burden of diseases and health systems that have limited capacity to absorb the outbreak. Even without a pandemic, most healthcare facilities work in resource-restricted settings with staffing shortages, inadequate infrastructure and a lack of available intensive care services.

This is why PharmAccess is committed to leveraging, with our partners, digital interventions and deploying a data-driven response that supports providers, communities and policymakers.

Quality Improvement, Disease Prevention and Control

For providers, PharmAccess is building on the programs we have implemented at public and private healthcare facilities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania. These programs include digitally-enabled insurance plans that focus on universal health coverage, our dedicated quality improvement program, SafeCare, and the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), which facilitates loans to health clinics. Combining the strengths of these programs with local infrastructure, PharmAccess and our partners will collaborate with primary and secondary healthcare facilities to provide:

  • Infection prevention with a SafeCare Package and App. Through SafeCare, PharmAccess is coaching clinics on implementing infection control measures and identifying potential COVID-19 infections. Providers can use an app in the SafeCare platform that offers equipment checklists, recommendations for needed supplies and a preparedness package.
  • Online Provider Courses. As part of SafeCare, PharmAccess organizes online trainings on infection prevention, control and detection — to prepare health workers and local experts in the field.
  • Emergency loans for healthcare providers. MCF is extending loans to healthcare providers so that clinics can purchase emergency response equipment such as protective masks, sanitizer, and testing kits.

Early Detection, Testing and Care

To support communities and address the diagnoses monitoring systems that are essential to understanding the virus, PharmAccess and our partners will work with local governments and a valuable network of private and faith-based facilities to:

  • Establish COVID-19 test centers. Starting in Kenya with a select number of facilities, PharmAccess will work with local authorities and guidelines to test for COVID-19.
  • Utilize connected diagnostics. Patients with symptoms can be referred to selected Kenyan clinics connected to the M-TIBA platform for a COVID-19 test. PharmAccess is developing a system that will test people, with the results uploaded to a cloud-based encryption database hosted by the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). KEMRI will then use the data from the tests to take the lead in providing technical assistance to the clinics.
  • Offer informed, data-driven health recommendations. Because resources such as ICU beds are limited, accurate and verifiable infection diagnoses data is critical for policymakers who must decide how and where to allocate resources.

Monitoring, Communication and National Response

To support patients, we are developing digital communications to connect directly with those who suspect they may have contracted the virus. Working closely with private and local partners, PharmAccess is implementing:

  • Digital communication with patients. Patients can describe their symptoms, receive medical feedback and communicate directly with remote clinicians.  Crucially, the collected data will be processed and used to help improve healthcare processes.
  • Communication and information. To provide information to people who are concerned about COVID-19, PharmAccess will support local partners in providing tailored massages about symptoms that can be distributed through digital technology, radio and social media.
  • Technical Assistance to governments. PharmAccess will serve as an advisor and contribute data and analysis to the local and national COVID-19 response teams that have been established in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania.
  • Outbreak monitoring and research. A digital surveillance system can detect new COVID-19 cases. Because of this, mobile health platforms such as M-TIBA allow us to work with local and national governments to develop COVID-19 monitoring dashboards. Data collected from these tools will offer insights to governments and help guide policy on the ground.

At PharmAccess, our commitment to investing in and using technology and data to strengthen African health systems remains strong. With that, we are actively seeking partnerships to join forces in these uncertain times, as cooperation is key to fighting this pandemic.