The EU’s private sector has been actively contributing to solutions to the COVID crisis in partner countries, alongside the Team EU public response. Beyond financial contributions to local pandemic funds or other types of financial donations, it has undertaken a wide range of initiatives for the supply of medical and protection equipment and other health solutions.
One such initiative has come from early-stage internet holding African Founders. Part of the network of German Chambers of Commerce Abroad, the company operates in sub-Saharan Africa, chiefly in Ghana and Nigeria. Its Wakanda Market app, designed to connect people in communities and neighbourhoods and brings small businesses online, now has over 10 000 businesses offering goods and services.
An app to tackle Covid-19
Recently, the app has been doing its bit for the response to Covid-19. It offers a free video or text consultation with a full-time doctor, supported by a team of part-time volunteer doctors. An online Covid-19 symptom self-checker is also available. These services have proven very popular. A large number of patients have received information and help, and have been referred to a hospital where appropriate. In all, people from various parts of Nigeria and Ghana have consulted the doctors.
This highly positive response, combined with the desire to champion African-led solutions and technology to improve health outcomes, has led African Founders to make health a focal area for the Wakanda app.
Partnerships for the future
Many Africans have no health insurance and are not especially keen on out-of-pocket payments for health services. So creating a sustainable business model and technological solutions for telemedicine and eHealth is challenging.
However, the potential for telemedicine and eHealth in Africa remains huge, and African Founders is eager to work with partners to turn that potential into tangible benefits for Africans.