Sent remotely, the tips fit well in a new wave of arms-length healthcare that became standard practice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Be it video chat or short texts linking patients to doctors, telemedicine surged during Covid-19 with everyone confined to home.
However, innovations in telemedicine were growing before the pandemic for their potential to offer affordable care to far-flung communities short of local services or know-how.
In SA, the department of health’s MomConnect platform has reached more than two million women, with more than 500,000 messages since 2014, providing essential information to expectant mothers through a digital helpdesk.
SASAdoctor in Kenya, operating since 2019, is a 24-hour medical app and in-person service that has 127,000 registered patients, according to company director Francis Osiemo.
With HIV so widespread in SA, social enterprise BroadReach Healthcare uses artificial intelligence (AI) to assess the nation’s clinics and suggest ways they can speed up the rollout of life-saving anti-retroviral drugs.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the number of virally suppressed people rose from 42% to 92% thanks to the insights AI delivered in more than 18 months, BroadReach said.
Innovators have also used tech to cut costs for patients.
Founded in Ghana in 2014, mPharma negotiates bulk prices and redistributes medicines to pharmacies and patients.
It has expanded to Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya, and also offers micro-payment options for some high-end drugs.