SAC Healthcare : Using technology to drive healthcare transformation in Nigeria.
The social inequality that exists between urban and rural population is an established, well known fact. But that reality does not really dawn on you until you experience it. That is the reality that Daniel Afolayan and Pelumi Olaore then final year medical students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria faced while on tour of rural communities around Ile-Ife, Nigeria. The experience was beyond what books or journals could give you.
It was difficult to come to terms to how these communities exist without electricity, internet services, water supply, waste and sewage disposal system and any basic health service.
They were moved to organize a community-wide rural health fair in other to raise awareness about the living conditions in these communities for which they got funding from the Osun State Government. Orisunmibare-Opa, a remote village with a population of about 3000 was selected. With the help of 25 other volunteers and various health professionals the health fair was successfully carried out on the 23rd, May 2015.
But rather than feeling of fulfilment, the event further brought to light the health challenges these rural dwellers faced: while many of the adults had hypertension and arthritic pains, the younger ones battled malaria and water-associated illnesses. In addition, there was no medical records or diagnosis record for any the patients
The Digital intervention
The successful pilot was made possible by the founding of Save a Community (SAC) HealthInitiative in May, 2016 with a vision to increase access to healthcare and improve healthcare delivery in rural communities.
On May 2, 2016, under the aegis of the their newly founded organization, they returned to the community and launched a free monthly rural clinic. The clinic, which serves Orisunmibare-Opa and 4 other smaller neighboring villages (total population of about 3500) is the only healthcare provider to the communities, before which there was none.
Daniel Afolayan and Pelumi Olaore piloted their developed digital records system. The clinic is the first rural clinic to fully adopt electronic record in Nigeria. The improvement it has brought in the efficiency of delivery of their health services has been incredible.
Record documentation and retrieval has been made very easy, especially when the transitory nature of their clinic. Clinic sessions are now faster and brought about a little reduction in costs.
Health services rendered during the clinic sessions include: basic screening for hypertension, diabetes and malnutrition, monitoring of growth and development of the younger children, basic dental care and physiotherapy services, and doctors attending to health related complaints.
They recently established SAC Healthcare as a spin off the non-profit SAC HealthInitiative, with the aim of unleashing the potentials that the technology provides in driving health care transformation in Nigeria.