Our Purpose in Life...
I believe that we all have a purpose in life. I have practiced medicine for nearly 20 years on two different continents and in many different specialities - surgery, family medicine and aesthetic medicine. Healthcare is my purpose!
A number of things have stood out for me over the years, the first of which is that primary healthcare has become less and less accessible, due in part to a year on year decrease in the doctor-patient ratio. While the number of doctors and nurses have increased over the past decade, they are unable to keep up with the rapidly increasing numbers of patients, particularly in offering traditional face to face medical consultations.
Secondly, medical conditions have changed vastly over the past two decades. Whereas in the past, patients presented for the most part with infectious diseases and trauma, we now see more lifestyle associated diseases. Stress, depression, anxiety, weight issues, alcohol and drug abuse, are some of the more common presentations that are seen today. In addition, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer continue to increase in numbers.
My vision is to change the way in which healthcare is delivered, by transforming the way it is accessed. By increasing accessibility, healthcare will become more affordable and convenient.
Current evidence shows that 7 out of every 10 individuals seeking healthcare, can have their consultations done over the phone; only 3 individuals would need to be seen in person. I strongly believe in technology as a force of transformation in Africa. The simplest of gadgets such as the phone, not big complex machinery such as scanners, will bring doctors and nurses closer to their patients. This I believe will be the heart of healthcare; telephone technology.
We have developed a simple but highly effective system that will give our patients secure access to doctors and nurses via text messaging and voice calls. Patients can reach us over secure phone lines from wherever they are, whenever they need to. When patients text or call on our secure phone lines, they will be attended to by well trained general practitioners.
This, is how, we will increase access to healthcare across Africa- using telephone technology.