As the world changes and advances over time, adequate healthcare services remain one of Africa’s biggest challenges. The African continent is predicted to be home to over half of the expected global population growth between 2015 and 2050, highlighting the importance of addressing population health in Africa for improving public health globally.1
South Africa has a two-tiered healthcare system, public and private healthcare. The public sector is state-funded and caters to the majority – 71% – of the population, while the private sector is largely funded through individual contributions to medical aid schemes or health insurance and serves around 16% of the population.2 While these two sectors operate independently, there are still underlying factors that contribute to the inefficiency of adequate, cost-effective healthcare and a major gap between public and private healthcare facilities. According to the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC), over 50% of the African continent has been deprived of access to adequate basic healthcare services due to costly and inefficient health systems3. The public sector is faced with the burden of operating at overcapacity, with few resources. On the other hand, private sectors are highly overpriced, leaving people with no solution to turn to.
With the ever-so-evolving technology, tech companies such as epione.net have resorted to introducing tech-enabled healthcare services to bridge the private and public sector gap. The aim behind inventing tech-enabled healthcare services is to provide quality, affordable, sustainable, and inclusive healthcare for all. The Kazier Family Foundation Survey report showed that in South Africa, the average waiting period for patients before they can receive healthcare assistance is 6 hours, while local research shows that the average waiting period for surgeries is 6 years. Meanwhile, in Africa, 1.2 hospital beds are designated per 1,000 people as opposed to the world average of 2.9.4 Tech companies exist to solve such systemic problems that have a lasting effect on Africans.
Founder of epione.net Garikai (Gazah) Govati says: “There isn’t a better time to offer Africans quality, cost-effective and equitable healthcare services – that is inclusive and sustainable. The African continent is ready to scale up to the rest of the world and receive healthcare that is patient-centred and affordable. It is about time we put the healthcare in the hands of the African patient – guided by their clinicians”.
He adds: “As we know, Africa is considered to be one of the most economically disadvantaged continents in the world, therefore we should find solutions to uplift Africans and restore dignity through fostering collaboration and increasing access to quality and affordable healthcare for all, using one true source of information that is doctor-driven.”
This tech-enabled healthcare service connects all healthcare stakeholders collaborating on a patient’s care – starting and ending with the patient themselves. The web-based platform and patient mobile app connect patients, doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, diagnostics, medical aids and even government hospitals, across the healthcare continuum. This is essential for patients to take control of their medical information and prevents the loss of critical information and health records, which results in costly care gaps as the patient is referred up the value chain.
Govati concludes: “As a service provider, regardless of the sector, it is pivotal to understand the patient or the consumer’s needs and place it before yours. Our approach to providing world-class medical care is to make the patient’s needs our priority. Every patient is different and should be catered for as such. Africans can have affordable quality healthcare without the worry of systemic issues.”
With its foundation stage being deeply rooted in South Africa, the tech-enabled health service provider aims to reach and uplift other countries such as Zimbabwe and many other African countries beyond the South African borders. As a patient-centric healthcare provider, Epione is driven by the feedback it receives from its patients and doctors to better provide services that are suited for patients’ needs. Their mission to promote equitable access to healthcare for all Africans has started with hosting a Second Saturday FREE basic health screening event, every month, for all patients at the Epione Health Village Rosebank facility.
Epione Health Villages
Epione Health Villages is a new healthcare model breaking ground in South Africa, that focuses on the provision of end-to-end, patient-centric, tech-enabled primary and surgical healthcare. Epione Health Villages is a partnership with clinicians to develop, invest in, own and operate primary and surgical healthcare facilities across Africa. The company’s vision is to be the largest owner and provider of primary healthcare services on the continent, with a mission to enable access to inclusive, quality, affordable and sustainable ambulatory surgical services to all.