Nigeria’s iDHS seeks to boost access to healthcare services across Africa

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Nigerian e-health startup iDHS is seeking funding to help it succeed in its goal of increasing access to various healthcare services across a host of African countries.

Launched in 2016, iDHS has rolled out HealthWise, an integrated digital healthcare platform that is feature-rich and interactive, and helps people manage their health.

The web-based app aims to put medical consultation and other health services and products at a user’s fingertips, providing the, with direct text and audio visual access to general and specialist doctors, testing and treatment signposting, and a range of other services and products.

Founded by Elizabeth Eweka-Adeshina, a UK-trained medical professional, iDHS has been developed in a bid to overcome healthcare challenges across the continent. Eweka-Adeshina had realised that the reasons given by patients for not presenting their symptoms early were often similar – lack of access, concerns about quality, lack of ready information and lack of trust in existing facilities.

“I started to advocate for better access to and improved quality in healthcare delivery. The realisation that digital technology could enhance and promote the ease and speed of access to quality healthcare led to the development and birth of iDHS HealthWise,” she told Disrupt Africa.

The platform finally went live in the middle of last year, and since then has registered around 200 doctors and healthcare professionals. Approximately 600 users are taking advantage of the platform, taking part in between 50 and 90 consultations each month.

“Our desire to see better access to and improved quality in healthcare delivery across Africa drives us. We aim to only sign up and partner with healthcare professionals and service providers with a genuine desire to deliver high levels of care and service,” Eweka-Adeshina said.

“Our web platform has been thoughtfully built to take into cognisance the end-to-end patient and doctor journey – from initial online consultation with the doctor, to the doctor’s ability to make a referral to specialists or other doctors, and also to enable doctors on the platform to form clinics or groups to better manage patient care. Plus, of course the patient’s medical records are electronic and accessible irrespective of location.”

iDHS is pleased with uptake thus far, especially with the application of technology to healthcare being very much in its infancy across Africa.

“The various partnerships we have formed and the usage of the platform bear testament of our progress and the scope,” said Eweka-Adeshina. “We have doctors and various healthcare practitioners registering daily, as are users who are having consultations online. Much more advertising and marketing is needed.”

With that in mind, iDHS is actively seeking investment. Self-funded thus far, it is looking for US$2.5 million in order to expand its marketing efforts and move into other African markets.

“Nigeria is our launchpad for Africa,” said Eweka-Adeshina. “Knowing how diverse and peculiar the market is, it is important for us to learn and grow as much as we can in order to be ready to expand to other parts of Africa.”

Countries of interest for iDHS are Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa, with the startup already making revenues from charging users for online consultations, selling advertising space to health and wellbeing companies, and commissions from health insurance policies purchased on its platform.

“We are seeing steady revenue growth, with very promising expectations and projection for the year ahead,” Eweka-Adeshina said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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