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.

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