All Rwandans will be able to access quality digital healthcare services mostly via their mobile phones.
The Government of Rwanda and Babylon Health (operating as Babyl in Rwanda) have inked a 10-year partnership enabling Rwandans countrywide to access quality healthcare services through their mobile phones.
According to this deal, Babyl will work with the Ministry of Health to develop a new healthcare delivery model called ‘Digital-First Integrated Care’, for convenient access to qualified doctors and nurses, especially for people living in remote areas.
This partnership deal was signed on Wednesday at the RDB (Rwanda Development Board) head office.
Dr. Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health said, “We are delighted to have this partnership with Babyl who will work alongside all our health institutions and RSSB to deliver this innovative digital healthcare service.”
He added that increasing access to doctors will help stop self-diagnosis and self-medication which lead to longer term complications.
“With the reduced burden on health centres and other medical institutions, our medical professionals will also now spend more time and resources on serious medical cases, further increasing the quality of healthcare delivery across the country,” the Minister said.
Tracey McNeill, Vice President of Global Clinical Governance at Babylon Health said, “We support the Government’s vision of using technology and innovation to drive economic growth, support human development, and advance key sectors including healthcare.”
According to Tracey, Rwanda was Babylon’s first choice in a global strategy due to the country’s enabling environment for investors with regard to regulations and infrastructure favourable for tech businesses.
Rwanda Social Security Board was represented at the signing by Dr. Solange Hakiba, the Deputy Director General.
She noted after the signing, “Digital healthcare is a significant step towards ensuring that all our members can conveniently access doctors without fear of loss of income or worry about travel to a medical institution.”
For Clare Akamanzi, Rwanda Development Board Chief Executive Officer said; “Babyl’s investment in Rwanda contributes to National Strategy for Transformation, particularly ensuring access to quality healthcare for all, and establishing Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy through such partnerships that build skills with practical digital applications in health.”
Shivon Byamukama, the Managing Director of Babyl Rwanda said, “In the short time that we have been operating, we have already amassed over 2 million registered users and delivered over 1 million consultations with doctors and nurses. Rwandans are reacting positively to health care innovation and embracing health seeking behaviours as patients do not have to spend time travelling or experience income loss when seeking care.”
USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) platform will work as follows:
- A patient registers on the platform
- The patient will then be able to book an appointment
- A medical practitioner will then call them back and take them through a triage process that is further enhanced with the world’s leading AI Triage and Symptom checker platform
- Lab tests results will also be shared through the platform as soon as the patient has taken them to the medical institution
- Prescriptions will also be delivered via SMS for patients to buy medication from pharmacies across Rwanda.
Holders of RSSB (Rwanda Social Security Board) and Community-Based Health Insurance (Mutuelle de Sante) schemes will have access to the service and for efficiency; the patients will be able to process their co-pay payments easily using mobile money.
Over time, Babyl’s digital platform will compile Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) of a large proportion of the Rwandan population.
Furthermore, EMRs will enable more coordinated care for patients through efficient digital referrals and patient information transfer. Patients will have more control over their own health, faster treatment and less trips to health facilities.