DIGITAL HEALTH: An enabling tool for health service access and financing especially for last-mile health delivery

Prof. Robin Kibuka

The COVID-19 pandemic and its related social distancing accelerated the applications of digital solutions to help deliver products and services more directly and efficiently to customers. Such applications are even more revolutionary for remote customers, like people in rural areas, especially in developing countries.

With very limited access to hospitals or clinics, health professionals (like doctors, nurses, midwives, and lab technicians), and transport (compounded by narrow and bad roads), it makes it very difficult and costly for villagers to have timely access to health services.

Digital applications cut through limited communications and distances to help first responders—usually community health workers (CHWs)—link more easily with health professionals and hospitals and clinics to provide enhanced services to customers much closer to their locations.

In addition, the cost of health service access can be substantially reduced and even financed when customers are linked to several health service providers and fintech services like mobile money or MoKash.

Thus, somebody in a remote village can use their phones to reach CHWs. Through them, health professionals, clinics hospitals and even pharmacies pay or borrow money to make it easier to get treatment for themselves and their families.

This is where innovators like MobiKlinic have stepped in to develop the requisite digital applications that are particularly appropriate for Uganda and other developing countries. These include:

  1. The Mobiklinic App (linking CHWs with health professionals, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and even ambulance services
  2. The e-learning platform (to train CHWS and others)

Moreover, MobiKlinic is increasing its networks mainly through collaboration/partnership with the Ministry of Health, local governments, and private health providers.

In addition, MobiKlinic is working with UNICEF, Rotary International, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Kigali Health Tech HUB to improve and gain synergies in the delivery of health service in Uganda.

Thus, between its innovative approach and efforts to leverage its work with others in the health and financial sectors, MobiKlinic is poised to play a significant role in improving access while reducing the cost of health services in Uganda and beyond.

In this regard, MobiKlinic contributes significantly to promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically the SDG 3 indicator of universal health coverage.

To read more download our report on our website

Digital Health: A Potential Catalyst for Universal Health Coverage

CHIEF EXECUTIVE Officer—MobiKlinic Foundation

By Andrew Ddembe

When asked about the potential of digital health at the digital health innovation summit in San Francisco in 2014, Aiden Petrie (a prominent English innovator) had this to say and I quote verbatim, “Early disease detection is where digital health could make a difference.” Like Aiden, different people have different perspectives about the potential of digital health. It goes without saying that the more the world gets technologized, the more all services have to adapt to the positive trend. Beyond simply trending, technology gives us an avenue to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Digital health has enormous potential in simplifying and unlocking health access for millions of people.

For the benefit of those who may not be well versed in the term digital health, let me define it.

Digital health is simply any technology that uses computing platforms, connectivity, software, and sensors for health care and related uses. These technologies span a wide range of uses, from applications in general wellness to applications as medical devices.

This fast-growing industry of digital health can enable today’s world to achieve universal health coverage. Universal health coverage means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. It covers the full continuum of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.

At Mobiklinic, we have demonstrated the power of digital health even in low-income areas. Digital health has the potential to prevent disease and lower healthcare costs while helping patients monitor and manage chronic conditions.

To read more on this visit, read the Mobiklinic Report