BIMA Doctor receives first ever telemedicine licence in Ghana
BIMA, the leading provider of mobile-delivered insurance and health services in emerging markets, receives the very first telemedicine licence ever attributed in Ghana by the Health Facility Regulatory Agency in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. BIMA’s mHealth service brings affordable health advice and care to under-served consumers and revolutionises access to healthcare in Ghana. The licence is a major step in recognising telemedicine as a standalone health service and in setting standards of best practice in Ghana.
There is a 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 healthcare services, particularly as non-communicable disease such as diabetes and hypertension continue to rise. As the health needs change in Ghana, 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 in 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 digitises the user experience to deliver convenient, affordable and quality health services across the county. From as little as GHȼ3 per month, BIMA Doctor subscribers can make 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 explains “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 adds, “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.”
In Ghana it is common for patients to travel considerable distances or sacrifice hours waiting in a clinic before seeing a doctor. This, along with the high cost of consultations, often prevents 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 severe signs or symptoms, the patient is referred to a hospital.
Damien Gueroult, BIMA Ghana Country Manager, reveals: “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 has added new features including a health coaching program delivering targeted health content via SMS and IVR, an e-prescriptions via SMS service as well as access to Specialists (Dietician and Gynaecologist) though its call centre. A BIMA Doctor App will launch in July 2018 to offer additional value-added services to customers.