The issue of healthcare in Africa is one that the world often focusses on. Despite big organisations, such as WHO, who have embarked heavily on projects to support healthcare across the continent, pumping large amounts of money into solutions, there is still a shortfall in adequate health care. Access to health care in particular is a serious concern and burning issues for many African populations. In much of rural Africa, where the majority are under privileged, are being hit hard by the harsh reality.
Where organisations, charities, and governments have have been less successful than expected, innovation and technological advances in recent years have led to other opportunities to improve the African health sector. The Yapili app, which was founded in November 2014 by a group of young entrepreneurs, gives a glimpse of light in a sector that is tarnished by negativity. It is a leveraged mobile app that offers communities access to health care, bidding fare well to expensive medical care for majority of the people in Africa, and breaking the barriers between the rich and the poor.
Physically attending doctors appointment in many part of Africa can be challenging. Many face long walks, and poor roads can make travelling via car or bus very difficult, especially with painful illnesses. There is even the cost to consider, with many deciding to wait it out, instead of seeking medical attention, often to disastrous ends. Mobile technology has made it possible to access health care remotely. Inventive Africa has discussed on numerous other occasions how doctors are being able to utilise mobile technology to monitor their patience, and even to do physical checkups of ears and eyes, and other symptoms using a mobile phone camera, reporting directly back to specialists.
This amazing app is free to use, hence curbing all the stress of affordability in accessing the best doctors. It has a variety of licensed doctors and licensed physicians from across the globe, who collaboratively share their skills to promote efficiency and accessibility to health care. With this app, individuals have access to both local and western health professionals, who offer secure channels when seeking medical care. All this is done using a mobile phone! A major concern is data security, and with Yapili that remains a top priority. Language and communication pose no problem at all as local doctors are fully engaged and assist in all questions asked, and follow ups needed can be arranged with just a click on one’s mobile phone.
Yapili is available in Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is hoping to expand even further across the continent. Most of the doctors on board offer their services for free currently. In its early stages, doctors have come on for free out of passion, and Yapili have tapped into African doctors who are based outside the continent and are passionate about giving something back to their former communities.
Samuel had the pleasure of meeting some of the Yapili team and the recent Seedstars conference in Lausanne. The team is incredibly highly motivated and fully understand how important such an app is for the future of African health care. It is worth baring in mind that such an app may also have use outside of Africa, with health care systems in many western countries also feeling the strain!
Not only has this app given new possibilities in health care, it showcases the possibilities of technology to those that have not previously had access to it. This is the case of many of these barrier breaking innovations that we have seen in Africa in recent years. It is incredible to see how quickly rural Africans, many without a formal education, are able to pick up new technologies and utilise them.
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