The gap in the health care system in African countries is one of the four leading challenges facing the continent. In Kenya alone, the majority of the healthcare facilities are in cities and urban areas yet 72% of the population resides in rural areas as of 2020. Apart from high poverty levels, a major setback facing the healthcare industry is understaffed medical personnel. Growing up, I remember countless occasions where my mother and I spent over 6 hours in dispensary and hospital waiting lines for doctor consultations. We would wake up at 6 am to arrive at the facilities before opening time, but we would still find ourselves waiting for hours to get served. The winding lines of people stretched out along the facility grounds never seemed to move. Due to this reason and the high cost of medical services, most times my mother, like 43% of the population, would opt to self-medicate by buying non-prescription drugs unless the situation was dire.
Like most of the countries in the world, health care in Africa is predominantly delivered in person. With the recent global pandemic crisis, there has been a noticeable shift to telehealth care. South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda and Nigeria saw an increase in the use of apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and regular telephone calls for patient-doctor communication. Telepsychiatry, for example, has been on an upward trajectory with increased virtual consultations and mental health therapy sessions. However, there still is a huge gap in physical health telehealth programs. Despite the current shift to online health resources, a majority of the population are still unaware of online healthcare resources and the potential they hold in health advancement.
Tell Health interconnects people with verified physicians across the world at no cost. It provides a platform for collaborative doctor-patient engagement unlimited by time or financial constraints. The app distinguishes itself from other existing healthcare apps in the market by allowing only verified physicians to post and share health information. This eliminates the problem of medical influencers in other social media apps misleading their oblivious followers by pushing unbeneficial products to them through hidden marketing campaigns. The most important agenda of Tell Health is to be a reliable and integral healthcare resource.
The platform has great potential in Africa in encouraging stakeholders in health care, including health providers, patients, and insurance companies, to utilize online resources in the advancement of health. It can be very beneficial in rural areas where health care facilities are inaccessible and commuting is difficult and expensive. The secure direct messaging feature will save a lot of time and money, adding incentive to patients to have direct follow-ups and discussions about their health with their physicians. This communication is crucial, especially in cases where the patient needs time to absorb and understand the weight of their health issue. Due to its interactive social media feel, Tell Health makes learning easier and engaging, encouraging its users to take charge of their health by providing verified health information at the click of a button.