Cameroon’s OuiCare adapts health platform to fight spread of COVID-19

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Cameroonian e-health startup OuiCare has rapidly adapted its platform to provide users with access to information and resources to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

OuiCare is a scalable e-health platform that offers users easy, secure and fast access to doctors, medical data and medical facilities. 

During the pandemic period, however, the startup has adapted its platform, offering users access to real-time, official information on the evolution of the disease in Cameroon and across the world. The aim is to empower people with the information they need to protect themselves and curb the spread of the virus. It has also launched a forum on which users can ask questions about COVID-19 and receive answers from health professionals.

“We are developing a teleconsultation module to allow the population to stay at home, receive consultation, and detail their symptoms, and thus allow doctors to determine if the person needs to go to the hospital,” Emmanuel Assom Neyeng, OuiCare’s co-founder, told Disrupt Africa. 

“This will unclog hospitals so that they can better focus on the cases of COVID-19 detected. We will also develop the pharmacy module to allow the confined population to order their medication and have it delivered to their homes. We are ready to make OuiCare available free of charge to national and international institutions because the fight against COVID-19 is everyone’s business.”

But what did the startup do pre-pandemic? In June 2015, Neyeng’s diabetic father died as a result of his doctor not having access to his health information. Research revealed that many deaths across the continent result from such absences of medical histories, so Neyeng designed a platform to solve the problem.

OuiCare allows users to make appointments with doctors and store their medical data, which is then accessible to all health professionals as needed. It increases traceability of a person’s medical history, protected by end-to-end encryption, improving service and health outcomes.

“We intend to add other features like vaccinations reminder, consultation aid, insurance, pharmacies and laboratories to build a whole medical ecosystem and enhance user experience,” said Neyeng.

So far, OuiCare has over 500 users and around 200 paying customers, with individuals charged for storing their health information and doctors charged a subscription fee. Neyeng said the goal for the next two years is to reach 300,000 users, which is five per cent of the addressable market. The company also has geographic expansion plans.

“We will start by focusing our efforts on maximum coverage of national territory before the end of 2022. The coverage of the whole country by our service will give us the financial means and the foundation necessary for internationalisation of OuiCare in Africa,” Neyeng said.

Targets destinations are neighbouring countries like Chad, Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon, the Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea, while OuiCare could also look as far afield as Nigeria. But investment will be needed to achieve all of this.

“Since the beginning of this incredible adventure, it is with our own funds that we are managing development burdens,” said Neyeng. 

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, OuiCare was planning a crowdfunding campaign to get some funds on board, but that has now been postponed. But Neyeng remains optimistic for the future.

“But that did not prevent us from continuing our evolution, which is slower than what we planned. We are actively looking for funds to continue improving the solution to better help in the fight against COVID-19,” he 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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