In Sub-Saharan Africa, finding a doctor or health specialist is often a very long and complicated operation. In the era of digitalization, the start-up WapiMED has decided to respond to this need for rapid localization, doctors/healthcare institutions. She has developed a platform linking doctors and patients.
To date, Africa has an average of 2 doctors and 11 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants. Health professionals are scarce, especially as rural exodus and international migration exacerbate the problem. Thus, the start-up WapiMED provides effective solutions to reduce the imbalance between supply and demand.
Launched in April 2016, WapiMED is the first geo-localized directory exclusively dedicated to health professionals in the DRC. Today, the platform is internationalizing and already references more than 800 doctors, specialists, dentists, pharmacies, health centers and analysis laboratories in Francophone African countries. It plans to double this number by mid-2017. It is deployed in the DRC, Congo, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Senegal.
Two Congolese entrepreneurs are at the initiative of this project: José Zefu Kimpalou, a biomedical engineer, and Steve Nkashama, an entrepreneur and founder of a startup, specializing in car ads (CarWangu). Based in Kinshasa, the team is composed of 4 people including 2 developers.
Available on computers, smartphones and tablets, WapiMED uses the geographical location of users, in order to connect them with specialists close to them. The platform targets two categories of clients: health professionals and individuals. In both cases, it has many advantages. On the one hand, it allows health professionals to gain visibility. In fact, the platform provides useful information about them: reception times, availability and doctor’s specialty, prices… On the other hand, patients can make a medical appointment in a few clicks. They also receive a route to the doctor. In addition, they have the opportunity to evaluate his skills, by leaving their opinions on the platform. This feedback then becomes valuable for improving medical outcomes. Adapted to emergency situations, WapiMED is an innovation that meets a real local need.
According to the WHO, the development of the mobile Internet is an opportunity to reduce “the African medical desert”. WapiMED supports this approach and intends to find e-Health solutions adapted to the African context. In the long term, it aims to develop new products and services. For example, a “cash-to-health” service for members of the African diaspora could help pay for health care for their families back home. For now, WapiMED’s priority is to increase the number of specialists referenced on the platform, and to expand to other African countries. The start-up also wants to strengthen its presence on the continent, by forging partnerships with local operators. In addition, iOS and Android apps are under development and should be available soon. With more than 415,000,000 people living in sub-Saharan Africa, WapiMED intends to improve patient care. We can only support and applaud this ambitious project.
Lexicon: e-Health refers to all means and services related to health, which use new information and communication technologies. It uses the Internet, smartphone apps and connected objects.
To go further, discover the WapiMED solution in images!
If you are in Africa, do not hesitate to use their services!