Technology

Kenyans abroad can now track relatives’ health in real time

BDGOODLIFE

Goodlife Pharmacy CEO Amaan Khalfan. FILE PHOTO | NMG

jameskariuki-img

Summary

  • Diaspora Kenyans can now determine the quality of healthcare their relatives back home receive and pay for it via a recently launched mobile app, Diaspocare.
  • Former banker Peter Kamunyu, who is Diaspocare’s business development manager, said the new platform arose from the need to enhance healthcare for Kenyans, especially the elderly whose children are living abroad.

Diaspora Kenyans can now determine the quality of healthcare their relatives back home receive and pay for it via a recently launched mobile app, Diaspocare.

Former banker Peter Kamunyu, who is Diaspocare’s business development manager, said the new platform arose from the need to enhance healthcare for Kenyans, especially the elderly whose children are living abroad.

Mr Kamunyu said the app was mooted by a discussion five African citizens living in the US had, among them a Kenyan expatriate who realised they witnessed similar challenges when taking care of their elderly relatives.

“We have relatives living in remote areas that access poor healthcare and buy substandard or fake drugs from local chemists without knowing. This means their health condition worsens leading to more costly medical procedures being performed,” said Mr Kamunyu.

Diaspora Kenyans, Mr Kamunyu added, will get realtime reports on health facilities their relatives visit as well as type of drugs dispensed giving them certainty of the quality of services received.

Diaspocare opens a new opportunity for Kenyans abroad to also monitor and determine how their monies is spent by their relatives some of whom are known to divert funds meant for health.

“Old people rely on younger relatives for social help and this exposes them risk of money being stolen or being denied a chance to receive prompt healthcare services,” he said.

The App can pinpoint the location a hospital and information of its credibility.

“In rural areas, public and private clinics are manned by nurses who have no ability to prescribe or treat patients and this is a serious trend that condemns chronically ill patients to more suffering and even death,” he adds.

Mr Kamunyu said Kenya has over 10,000 drugstores where only 4,000 have been certified by the pharmacy and poisons board leaving Kenyans at the risk of being given expired, wrong drugs and wrong doses.

“Most pharmacies are trader-owned and most lack a trained pharmaceutical assistant to attend to them. It means the prescription is determined by an attendant who hardly understands the repercussions of dispensing the wrong drugs,” he said.

Diaspocare was first piloted in Nigeria before being launched in Kenya and Ghana as commercial products giving Africans across the world an opportunity to pay for healthcare services for their relatives back home.

To sustain its operation, Mr Kamunyu said participating healthcare facilities, drugstores and laboratories pay a subscription fee while all payments made attract a transaction fee based on exchange rates.

In Kenya, the platform has signed Goodlife and Krishna pharmacies as its partners together with Equity Afia Centres, individual doctors as well as Equity Group that are the new company’s payment gateway.

Goodlife CEO Amaan Khalfan said the partnership with Dispocare bridges the gap between the pharmacy, clinicians and the Kenyan Diaspora who are tasked with taking care of their loved ones back home.

“We have 63 outlets across Kenya and Uganda which enable us to deliver drugs to beneficiaries. Through the partnership, we are able to directly monitor a patient’s health and advise them accordingly,” he said.

Upon receiving an invoice, the diaspora Kenyans pay via the platform where a one-time password is generated enabling transfer of funds to the participating drugstore or healthcare facility.