There are several challenges of the elderly in nigeria and their quality of lives has been on downtrend in the last decades.
While we have aged care from the government in advanced economies, the focus in nigeria is basically the primary health care, centered mostly on Nigerian children from age 0 to 5.
Older people don’t have the capacity to drive, walk and endure the stress in getting health care in hospital, hence, the less access to health care.
However, making the primary health care services for older people more comfortable can make a big difference in their quality of life.
Here today, there’s an innovation that simplifies how primary health care works for the seniors.
You’re welcome on board today; can you briefly introduce yourself and your Organization?
My name is Dr. Ebi Ofrey, the C.E.O and Cofounder of GeroCare Solutions Ltd, a health-Tech company that offers health care services to the elderly.
I have my Bsc. in Medicine and surgery and Masters in Business Administration in University of Ibadan and UCSI university in Malaysia respectively.
I also have a certificate in Geriatric care from the University of Benin Teaching hospital, here in Nigeria.
Great! What are the medical services available for parents and the elderly?
We leverage our cloud based hospital structure to offer any primary health care that’s given to the elderly in the hospital right in their home, at their comfort.
The services range from doctor’s reviews to home sample collections for investigations and home delivery of prescribed medications in the comfort of their home on a regular basis.
Since gerocare is a subscription based health service, what are the plans available and the features of each plan?
You’re already operating in Nigeria, How do people from rural areas and out of gerocare cities benefit from this service?
When our clients subscribe our services for their parents in the rural areas, we make sure they get the same treatment in terms of service as compared to the elderly in the urban areas.
We leverage on our doctor network and technology to develop the GeroCare software to offer quality health care services.
This we ensure our services is at per with any standard primary health care center to the rural communities with our Community / Rural elderly care plan.
This we do by deploying doctors (armed with the GeroCare application) to communities to cater for elderly patients either funded by non-governmental organizations or other concerned parties in two ways as the case may be.
- We do House to House visits one or two times in a month
- Another one is the Outreach format, where the elderly patient are to assemble in specified locations for our doctors to visit them once or twice a month.
The advantage of the outreach format, which is usually for a group of patients is that, they receive quality health care and it’s provided for a lower cost based on the number of elderly patients being seen.
GeroCare has partnered with Vectis Business Solutions, a company set up to bridge the gap in the shortfall of energy availability on the African continent using renewable forms of energy.
They have been granted a contract to provide energy centres in remote rural areas across Nigeria.
And GeroCare has been provided the exclusive rights to provide telemedicine services via these energy centers where ever they are situated.
What are other services you render at GeroCare?
- Home Nursing Care and Non-Medical Care giver Services
- Home Post Stroke Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy
- Ambulance and Emergency Services
- Home Diagnostics & pharmaceutical services
Briefly discuss the processes involved from subscribing to your services on website to the doctor’s visit and feedback to the subscribers who actually get these services for their parents.
People who want to subscribe to any of our services can visit our website or download our app.
Then create an account and fill the necessary details of the elderly person on the boxes provided and choose their package and make payment.
Once you’ve made payment, the elderly person will be matched to a doctor who’s close to the location of the elderly person.
As we visit the person to offer the services the sponsor paid for, we’ll be providing regular updates to the sponsor (the person that paid for the service) via their GeroCare mobile application.
Medical Home Visit
Once the doctor gets to the patient’s house and checks in on his app, the sponsor will also get notification on his app wherever he’s.
Once the doctor is done in the house of the patient, he checks out and sponsor gets another notification.
The doctor also give account of his activities and send the summary of the current state of health of the elderly to the sponsor and he also make recommendations.
Depending on the recommendation made by the doctor, the sponsor can make payment on his app for the medications recommended.
Once payment is made, the drugs will be delivered to the elderly patient at home or home collection of samples for tests or both are carried out as required.
What is the state of Digital health services in Nigeria?
Digital health services in Nigeria are still nascent and relegated mainly to electronic medical records and provision of health information via mobile applications, and in rare cases telemedicine.
There is a lot more that can be done with already existing non deep tech like we are doing in gerocare leveraging mobile and web technology.
Though Artificial intelligence and machine learning show a lot of prospect, I believe we should focus on using simple technology maximally at the moment first.
Health care is a thing of heart, how do you ensure visiting doctors are certified, re-trained and perform optimally ?
We would like you to mention some of your business partnerships and awards if there’s any?
- Top 50 Business innovations in Africa exhibited at the Africa Innovation Summit 2018, Kigali, Rwanda
- First Place winner National Economic Summit Group Pitch Competition 2018.
- Global Top 10 and Nigerian Top 3 Finalists Slush Global Impact Accelerator Showcase 2018 Helsinki, Finland.
- GeroCare was also part of the 20 companies that participated in the MERCK-Make IT start-up boot camp in
- Nairobi Kenya in partnership with HYBR and GIZ in August 2019.
- First Place Winner Best of the Nigerian Start up ecosystem tour organized by AfricArena and featured at the AfricArena Summit 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
This is commendable. When can you say you start making big wave in your organization?
Smile, Some may argue that we are making big waves already
What’s still your biggest challenge and what are your plans to overcome it?
The key challenge we have faced so far is getting Nigerians to appreciate the importance and the need for preventive medical care and not waiting till the condition has progressed to get medical attention.
They are encouraged to subscribe for care for their parents even when they are seemingly okay as that is the best time to start to detect and manage conditions early or maintain a healthy state if no condition currently exists.
To navigate around this, we are using various media at our disposal to educate the populace especially by the use of influencers.
The second is the need to strengthen our branding and brand awareness to engender trust as our clients need to fill out the home address of their parents they need to be sure beyond the shadow of doubt that we are legit.
As there is a limit to how many offline presentations and one on ones we can do, our brand needs to speak for us.
To mitigate this, we have partnered with known brands in and out the healthcare industry.
What’s the next big thing to expect from this organization to achieve and where do you see GeroCare in the next five years?
GeroCare vision is to be Africa’s most loved, most used, most profitable and easy to access full range home medical service.
We believe in the next 5 years we would be well on our way to achieving this in Nigeria and would be in at least 2 other African countries.
It has been wonderful speaking with you, what role do you expect the Nigerian government to play in improving Healthcare services in Nigeria?
The government can not do everything themselves.
What I advocate is that they partner more with startups in the healthcare space and leverage on their unique insights and capabilities.