Telemedicine 2.0: mPharma’s Vision to Transform Primary Care in Africa
Africa’s healthcare system is in dire need of unconventional approaches to closing the access gap. All too often, people who need healthcare the most are also the most alienated. Public health institutions across the continent are often characterized by long wait times, poor infrastructure, inadequate human resources, insignificant budgetary allocation, and overall low-quality service. Notwithstanding, the vast majority of people rely on these institutions for their healthcare needs.
At mPharma, our primary objective is to innovate with and on behalf of the millions of patients we serve. Over the last few months, we have doubled down on our effort to make the community pharmacy accessible for primary care services. We strongly believe that pharmacies can help fix the access gap and democratize the delivery of high-quality primary care.
Today, we are excited to introduce Mutti Doctor, a digital primary care service. At the heart of this new initiative is our mutti pharmacy network. We are building the continent’s largest telemedicine network by leveraging the immense potential of community pharmacies as primary care providers. Mutti Doctor takes virtual consultations to the next level — Telemedicine 2.0 — with our all-in-one digital stethoscope, otoscope, thermometer, and examination camera with built-in illumination for high-definition skin and throat images powered by Tytocare. Doctors can perform medical examinations while also choosing from an array of Rapid Diagnostics Tests. The service is supported in pharmacy by a licensed community health nurse while the doctor consults remotely.
Patients will be able to access the service at our mutti pharmacies spread across Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. For patients, this means they can access all their primary care needs right where they live and achieve better health outcomes. For doctors, the service allows them to do more than just a video or voice consultation. They can see their patients from wherever they are while effectively examining and diagnosing using modern technology. Mutti Doctor will grow to provide primary health care to millions of Africans and help mPharma inch closer to building an Africa that is in good health.
We have included 2 patient stories as told by our medical team. To protect the privacy of our patients, we have removed all identifiable information.
Patient 1: Left Acute Otitis media
By: A.O. Yeboah MD
A 12-year-old uninsured patient with a 5-day history of cough, rhinorrhea, headache, and left ear pain presented to Mutti Doctor for a digital consult. The patient was experiencing the above symptoms for about five days but could not afford a hospital visit so had been unable to seek care.
Mutti Doctor Intervention
A remote examination of the cardiovascular and respiratory system revealed fever, tachycardia, and a clinically clear chest. Ear examination showed intact inflamed left tympanic membrane with scanty whitish discharge on the surface.
The patient was unable to afford the requested labs (urgent FBC, Swab of ear discharge). However, she was given analgesia, empirical antibiotics which she could afford with a discount offered by her Mutti card.
The financial impediment to accessing healthcare was considerably decreased if not altogether circumvented. The patient recovered and serious complications such as mastoiditis and meningitis were prevented.
Patient 2: Recently diagnosed hypertensive with a gap in follow-up care, who presented in Hypertensive emergency
By A.O. Yeboah MD
The patient is a 44-year-old female, known hypertensive, who presented with a 6-hour history of severe headache, and blurred vision. The patient had recently been diagnosed with hypertension but had very poor insight into what the diagnosis meant. The patient’s lack of acceptance of diagnosis led to non-compliance with medication.
Mutti Doctor Intervention
A remote examination of the cardiovascular system showed tachycardia and vital signs checked revealed hypertension with (BP-202/124 mmHg). The patient was diagnosed with hypertensive emergency and was given an initial dose of antihypertensives, duly counseled, and referred to the nearest hospital for emergency management. Upon discharge, the client returned to Mutti Doctor to thoroughly discuss her diagnosis and management protocol. Mutti Doctor continues to follow up on her.
The patient felt heard and gained better insight into her condition and achieved better compliance to her medication regimen. This has decreased the likelihood of untoward complications such as Cerebrovascular accidents (CVA).