E-health startup app WiiQare disrupts health care services in eastern DR Congo

DR CONGO – WiiQare, an application created by Bienvenue Zigabe, is improving healthcare services by facilitating quicker access to medical services.

“Wiiqare” helps patients pay for treatment and drugs using their savings or on credit. The application is already used by several residents of the city of Goma, in eastern DRC where there have been good reviews.

“Our goal is for everyone to have access to health care. When you feel sick and you have to stay at home, you can go directly to a health service for appropriate care because this is what often happens, because in our community when someone is sick and they don’t have money, they are forced to stay at home,” said Zagabe, the Wiiqare inventor.

Patients can treat anything from malaria to the most complex ailments without worry. They can then do mobile payments or ask for credit. It is a way to revolutionize access to care in a region where it is expensive and virtually non-existent.

Users can also keep savings meant for health care on the app, maintaining a piggy bank of sorts to cater for health emergencies.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, as in other African countries, access to health care is often delayed by lack of money, a situation that is at the root of several cases of death or serious injury in this country.

Estimates of current health expenditures include healthcare goods and services consumed during each year. According to the World Bank, Ghana healthcare spending for 2018 was US$78, a 15.5% increase from 2017.

This amount accounts for just 3.5 % of GDP in the country against WHO’s recommendation of 5% of GDP.

Health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have faced considerable challenges in providing high-quality, affordable, and universally accessible care. E-Health is one of the most promising solutions to address these challenges.

Recognizing the impact that eHealth could have on healthcare delivery, particularly in LMICs with limited resources and rising populations, the WHO called on member states in LMICs, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, to adopt and implement effective eHealth strategies to improve their health systems.

In 2010, the government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Services (GHS), rolled out an eHealth strategy framework, with the intent of systematically deploying systems to improve healthcare delivery and the health status of the citizenry.

Since then, the country has witnessed the rise of various platform offering E-health services which have positively impacted the healthcare sector in the country.

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