One day they decided to stop the carnage of pregnant women who die in childbirth by the thousands every year in the Sahel. Or to make fertile these medical deserts, deprived of public health services. Whether they are medical entrepreneurs, engineers at the end of their studies or even “intrapreneurs” – employees working in large groups – more and more African innovators have decided to take on new technologies in order to improve health of their fellow citizens.
“The idea came to us during a trip to Morocco, explains the Franco-Moroccan engineer Anass Al-Hilal. While we were in a small train station in a Moroccan province, an old lady became unwell before our eyes. She came home, very tired, from her dialysis session, several hours away. “
Thousands of Moroccans suffering from kidney failure today live in the heart of medical deserts. For the most fragile among them, often destitute, regular treatment quickly takes the form of a difficult obstacle course. MedTrucks has decided to provide an answer by developing medical caravans that reach out to kidney patients. The caravans are equipped with “eco-designed” equipment with second-hand medical devices, upgraded and equipped to provide dialysis sessions in medical deserts.
Equipped with a total of five beds, MedTrucks caravans can dialyze up to ten patients per day, half a day per session. “For the moment, we only have one test caravan, with rural Morocco as an experimental area. The caravan is completely autonomous and equipped to travel to the most isolated regions of Africa. However, the vehicle remains subject to constraints specific to the treatment of kidney disease, namely the proximity of water points.
Beyond the caravans, MedTrucks is also in the process of developing a geolocation platform which will soon collect geographic and medical data specific to medical deserts (existing water points, emergency medical centers located in rural areas, etc.) and the people who live there. Data that MedTrucks will make available to Moroccan health centers wishing to expand their activity in the territories abandoned by doctors.
Created in September 2013 in the Burkinabé city of Nouna, in the heart of Kossi province, the title of the M @ SAN project stems from a fusion between the words “mobile” and “health”. A relatively unknown e-health project outside Burkina Faso and which tackles the precariousness of the maternal and child health sector. In particular in rural areas which do not have dispensaries or health centers in sufficient quantity. A doctor himself in the capital of Nouna, Maurice Ye is the initiator of this project which he carries at arm’s length, due to the lack of sufficient financial means. Because for him, there is urgency: “In Burkina, for 100,000 births, 341 mothers die on average. For comparison, in the West the number of deaths drops to 5. ”
Tested in the department of Nouna and its surroundings (around 70,000 inhabitants), the M @ SAN project has already taken care of 1,360 pregnant women in three years. “We have probably prevented hundreds of medical complications and thus saved precious lives thanks to our system of sending SMS and voice messages to pregnant women in the department. “
Often deprived, pregnant women are deprived of sufficient information before, during and after pregnancy. “Most young mothers do not know how to react, for example in the event of bleeding. By default, they instinctively listen to the neighbor’s advice instead of calling the doctor. Our application sends reminders every day to mothers: what to do in the event of bleeding, basic health rules, baby nutrition, vaccine reminders, etc. “
Knowing that a large number of Burkinabe women are illiterate and therefore unable to read SMS, the technical team gathered around the M @ SAN project has developed a voice messaging system which is available in five local languages, like mooré or dioula. In addition to the technological component articulated around the mobile phone, in the field, Maurice Ye trained 62 “godmothers” who regularly visit the users of the M @ SAN application, and are responsible for organizing awareness campaigns in villages. Today, M @ SAN includes additional functionalities which also make it possible to follow and inform people with HIV: “We have already supported 505 HIV-positive people in the province of Nouna. But we want to go much further and extend to the whole of Burkina Faso, “concluded the doctor.
System engineer at Sonatel (Orange subsidiary), model employee, Adama Kane could not imagine diving so quickly into the world of start-ups and innovation. However, it changed in 2014, becoming in a few months what is called an “intrapreneur”. Because despite being an employee, Adama decided to create his first start-up specializing in e-health, all in accordance with his hierarchy. The first click was at the time of his wife’s pregnancy: “We were both at home doing tidying up to prepare the room for our future child. We realized that we had accumulated tons of medicine for years … The bed was covered with medicines that were often intact but out of date and therefore potentially very dangerous. A real mess! “
the next day, Adama Kane inquires and multiplies his research by contacting several friends of doctors and pharmacists: he then realizes that in Senegal, drugs represent the most important item of expenditure in household health spending. “And as poor and modest people will always seek the cheapest drugs, they recover expired or counterfeit tablets, putting their lives and those of their loved ones in danger,” adds Adama Kane. A few weeks later, he developed JokkoSanté, a virtual pharmacy that allows Senegalese to exchange their unused medicines with one another. An original concept, but risky and above all difficult to secure from one end of the chain to the other. Faced with the outcry from Senegalese pharmacists, he pivots and finds the right positioning.
“We are now targeting major Senegalese, African and international accounts with health-oriented policies. With JokkoSanté, major accounts buy medicines on our platform directly on behalf of Senegalese families living in need, who receive points on their phone, via SMS. Beneficiaries can then use the points received in partner pharmacies, thanks to the JokkoSanté application, which collects 5% on the cost of each transaction.
The project, which has the support and medical backing of a highly respected oncologist surgeon in Dakar, Doctor Abdoul Aziz Kassé, is attracting and attracting more and more supporters. In 2015, JokkoSanté won an excellence award in Morocco at the final of the African Entrepreneurship Award. In the process, the first contracts were signed with several large accounts which joined the JokkoSanté platform to “sponsor” the health expenses of hundreds of Senegalese families living in the town of Passy, in the Fatick region. With already just under 1,000 beneficiaries for this first test area.
Learn more at http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2016/05/24/ces-innovations-africaines-qui-peuvent-sauver-des-vies_4925603_3212.html#2hkOEXQixzguRZD4.99
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