November 20, 2017

This Kenyan health startup is eyeing Nigeria

Paul AdepojuOct 31, 20174min

The healthcare sector in Nigeria has been very active in recent times particularly the continuing spread of the Monkeypox disease. But the country is not the only one in Africa struggling with outbreaks. In Uganda, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the country is struggling with another viral disease outbreak.

But just beyond the border with Uganda, Kenyans are able to access healthcare professionals via one of Africa’s highly successful healthcare apps – MedBit – which its cofounder, Jesse Kimotho, told TechCity, is interested in the Nigerian market.

The story behind Kenya’s MedBit is one that Nigerians can easily relate to – incessant strikes in the healthcare sector.

According to Kimotho, in the last two years, Kenya has experienced a slew of strikes in the healthcare sector that have led to the death of more than 3000 people.

“Medbit was borne from the realization that in a world where the WHO recommended doctor to patient ratio is 1:1000, Kenya and most African countries have a ratio that is 10 times lower than that 1:10,000,” he told TechCity from Yale University.

While the startup cannot increase the number of healthcare providers in Kenya, it is ensuring that whatever resources exist are evenly distributed among the population.

“Medbit’s role is to give maximum accessibility to patients,” he said.

For the healthcare service providers, the startup ensures that inventory management issues such as overbooking and under-booking are minimal by giving them a consistent stream of patients that they can give quality time and care to.

“We also offer a streamlined platform for doctors to accept payments, one that does not discriminate against patients who have or do not have insurance,” he told TechCity.

Medbit has two apps – the Medbit app and the Medbit Pro app. While the former is a platform for patients to search and book healthcare providers, the later is for healthcare providers to manage patients, maintain their public profiles, as well as create and accept booking slots.

“We have also begun our pilot program that utilizes USSD in lieu of an Android application for patients who do not have access to smartphones,” the cofounder added.

While Kenya has a total of 7500 doctors, Medbit only has 213 registered on its platform with plans to increase it to 1500 before the end of the year and 80% of all healthcare providers in the next two years.

The startup is backed by Yale University, the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. Nailab (Kenya’s leading incubation lab) and others.

“Our regional and local backers are Drug Index East Africa – an healthcare directory company who contribute to our healthcare database and ensure data integrity. We have also partnered with several local county governments for mass implementation of the app in specific regions. We have a number of contract bound undisclosed VC funding us,” Kimotho added.

While the startup currently has about 15,000 monthly active users, it expects to increase this when it expands to more locations in Kenya and other African countries including Nigeria.

“We are looking to ramp up our acquisitions and to double our user base by the month until we plateau at 2-3 million users,” he said.

Paul Adepoju

Paul ADEPOJU is a Nigerian freelance journalist, managing editor, blogger and published writer (3 books already). He has vast experience working with various media organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. He covers stories on various genres and for various audiences. He is the managing editor of HealthNewsNG.com which is Africa’s leading health news website; he also manages IBPulse.com, a city blog that focuses on happenings in his home town of Ibadan, southwest Nigeria. He has won several awards including Nigeria’s Vanguard Newspaper’s Young Nigerian Making The Difference award; a certificate of recognition from UNESCO and Goi Peace Institute in Japan; a finalist at the International Press Institute’s Young Nigerian Journalist of the Year award; and was the only African finalist in the NetImpact/FedEx Global Access Essay Competition.



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