Tue. Mar 31st, 2020

Rwanda steps up healthcare through digitalisation

(L-R) RDB CEO, Clare Akamanzi, Tracey McNeill, Vice President of Global Clinical Governance at Babylon Health, RSSB Deputy DG, Dr. Solange Hakiba and Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije after signing the agreement (PHOTO/Courtesy)

By George Kalisa

A 10-year partnership entered on March4 between the government of Rwanda and Babyl will see all Rwandans access quality healthcare services by leveraging digitalization whereby the patients will conveniently access medics and nurses through their mobile phones.   

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has recognized Babyl’s investment saying that the health facility contributes to Rwanda’s national strategy for transformation as well as establishing the country as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy.

“Babyl’s investment in Rwanda contributes to Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation, particularly ensuring access to quality healthcare for all, and establishing Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy through such partnerships that build skills with practical digital applications in health,” observed Akamanzi, the RDB Chief Executive Office.

In addition, Babyl’s digital platform will compile Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) of a large proportion of the Rwandan population. 

Through the partnership, Babyl will work with the Ministry of Health to develop a new healthcare delivery model called ‘Digital-First Integrated Care’, for convenient access to qualified doctors and nurses, especially for people living in remote areas, said RDB.

Under the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform a patient will register on the platform to enable them book an appointment.

Also, a medical practitioner will then call them back and take them through a triage process that is further enhanced with the world’s leading AI Triage and Symptom checkerplatform and Lab testsresults will also be shared through the platform as soon as the patient has taken them to the medical institution.  

Prescriptionswill also be delivered via SMS for patients to buy medication from pharmacies across Rwanda. 

Holders of RSSB (Rwanda Social Security Board) and Community-Based Health Insurance (Mutuelle de Sante) schemes will have access to the service and for efficiency, the patients will be able to process their co-pay payments easily using mobile money, added the statement. 

EMRs will enable more coordinated care for patients through efficient digital referrals and patient information transfer. Patients will have more control over their own health, faster treatment and less trips to health facilities. 

On his part Dr. Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health said:  “We are delighted to have this partnership with Babyl who will work alongside all our health institutions and RSSB to deliver this innovative digital healthcare service. Increasing access to our doctors will help stop self-diagnosis and self-medication which lead to longer term complications. With the reduced burden on health centres and other medical institutions, our medical professionals will also now spend more time and resources on serious medical cases, further increasing the quality of healthcare delivery across the country”.

Shivon Byamukama, the Managing Director of Babyl Rwanda said that the country’s forward-thinking vision is demonstrated by the palpable desire and emphasis on embracing innovation and partnerships in acting as a proof of concept country.

She said Babyl Rwanda boasts of over 2 million registered users and has delivered over 1 million consultations with doctors and nurses.

Tracey McNeill, Vice President of Global Clinical Governance at Babylon Health said: 

“Babylon Health was founded in the United Kingdom with a single purpose: To put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on earth. Rwanda was our first choice in our global strategy due to its enabling environment for investors with regard to regulations and infrastructure favourable for tech businesses.

We support the Government’s vision of using technology and innovation to drive economic growth, support human development, and advance key sectors including healthcare”.

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