Health

Mobile app broadening access to healthcare in Africa

  • 09 Jun
    2017
  • 2 min

WapiMED, a startup based in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has developed an e-Health app that geolocates healthcare professionals so as to make it easier for patients to obtain treatment in remote areas.

Founded in 2016 by José Zefu Kimpalou and Steve Nkashama, Wapimed is a mobile app that provides a geolocated list of African doctors. The app offers a range of functionality, including a filter to define the exact individual need, a detailed map plus detailed plan of the journey to the nearest medical centre offering the required healthcare. The app can also provide all sorts of practical information and an assessment system to encourage people to use the service.

Nevertheless, there is one large obstacle that still remains to be overcome – the digital divide. The app only works with an Internet connection, and so for the moment cannot help people in extremely remote areas. However, Kimpalou and Nkashama are counting on an increasing takeup of smartphones and on a consequent more widespread availability of mobile Internet access over the next few years. They have built their app in such a way as to help develop new services and expand functionality, especially the development of SMS-based functionality. As the WapiMed founders argue: “Access to high-quality medical care ought to be a fundamental right, not a privilege”.