Swedish microinsurance and health services company, BIMA, has received the first telemedicine license ever attributed in Ghana by the Health Facility Regulatory Agency in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.
[contextly_sidebar id=”vvQPaJGcFzvIAlezYM9dSc8jURHv8x9H”]The license is a major step in recognizing telemedicine as a standalone health service and in setting standards of best practice in Ghana.
BIMA’s mHealth service brings affordable health advice and care to under-served consumers and is in the light of the severe shortage of primary health services across Africa.
According to the OECD, there is at most 1 qualified physician per 1,000 people in Ghana, and the combination of soaring population and rising urbanisation is driving higher demand for health care services, particularly as non-communicable disease such as diabetes and hypertension continue to rise.
As the health needs of Ghanaians change, new and innovative models create the potential to bring significant benefits to patients, along with a rapid transformation of the healthcare sector.
BIMA Doctor illustrates this transformation on the healthcare sector, with BIMA being the first telemedicine provider in Ghana to receive a licence from the Health Facility Regulatory Agency (HeFRA), a Ministry of Health (MoH) agency with the mandate to license all health facilities in Ghana.
BIMA Doctor uses disruptive mobile technology that digitizes the user experience to deliver convenient, affordable and quality health services across the county.
From as little as GHȼ3 per month, BIMA Doctor subscribers enjoy unlimited calls to a medical practitioner to seek advice and medical consultations over the phone. The tele-doctor service began operations in 2015 and has since registered around 100,000 customers.
Christina Tuemmers, Ghana mHealth Division Manager explained that;
“Receiving this licence is a confirmation of the high clinical standards and customer service that underpin the delivery of the BIMA Doctor service, it is the consecration of two years of development.”
Dr. David Sunu, Chief Medical Officer of BIMA Doctor added that the company had medical practitioners who qualify to ran telemedicine services in the country.
“BIMA Doctor has a team of medical practitioners who are licensed by the Medical and Dental Council to practise medicine in Ghana. The team receives periodic training on telemedicine protocols to ensure the highest standards of medical quality. While delivering an affordable service, we also have a series of rigorous quality assurance measures in place to deliver a world-class medical service,” he said.
In Ghana, it is common for patients to travel considerable distances to wait in a clinic before seeing a doctor. This, along with the high cost of consultations, often prevent people from seeking medical help.
BIMA Doctor saves customers’ money on transportation, consultation and lost income for the day, providing an immediate medical advisory service before the customer’s health condition worsens.
Fever, sore throat, skin problems and diarrhoea are among the most common customer ailments. In most cases, the issue is resolved during the consultation. If the situation requires further investigation, or if there are signs/symptoms of severity, the patient is then referred to a hospital.
Damien Gueroult, BIMA Ghana Country Manager, said “We are proud of this milestone recognizing the quality of our service, but we really believe we’re just at the start of this journey. We continue to enhance our telemedicine service and foresee increasing synergies with our insurance offering to provide a comprehensive health coverage to every Ghanaian”.
BIMA Doctor runs a health coaching program that delivers targeted health content via SMS and IVR, and also provides e-prescriptions via SMS.