7 months ago




INTRODUCTION Death occurrence on the African continent, is mainly due to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and respiratory infections which have been accelerated by numerous factors spanning the social, economic and political aspects. With new-born and child mortality, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest risk of death in the first month of life and is among the regions showing the least progress, where 1 in 9 children dies before age five, more than 16 times the average for developed regions. 50% of children under 5 who die of pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, HIV, tuberculosis globally are in Africa. These diseases and deaths can be prevented, contained or treated with timely access to appropriate and affordable consultations, medicines, vaccines and other health services. Healthcare in Africa has already changed dramatically over the last decade, and is set to shift even more in the coming one, hence the role of technology in this shift cannot be overemphasised. At Alpha.MD, we believe that to really make a difference, we need to consistently develop innovative, sustainable and long-term solutions for the healthcare sector. We believe that our platform, integrated with the blockchain technology, would rise above so many of the challenges encountered in the African healthcare sector thereby driving an immense positive impact across the sector and society, while contributing to overall economic growth. It is estimated that about 50% of Africans will be living in cities by 2030, and by 2034, 1.1bn will be of working age, increasing the demand for improved infrastructure including improved healthcare delivery. An educated and growing middle class will demand better quality healthcare which ultimately challenges providers to give the same quality of healthcare to the lower class, as a single standard of service delivery is maintained. Alpha.MD is poised to meet this future demand and challenges. Africa’s First Smart Healthcare Ecosystem powered by blockchain 4

PROBLEM OVERVIEW Infrastructure: Africa’s healthcare system is characterized by significant infrastructural deficit, a situation that remains critical. The working conditions of medical doctors are extremely poor in most parts, with access to no or sub-standard equipment, devices and medication. More than 50% of the African population do not have access to modern health facilities and 40% have no access to safe drinking water and sanitation. These a just part of what has contributed to the ruin of the continent’s health care system. Human Capital: Africa has only about 2% of the global doctors. In 2013, sub-Saharan Africa had a deficit of an estimated 1.8 million health workers, according to a WHO report—this deficit is projected to rise to 4.3 million by 2035. Health worker shortage in sub-Saharan Africa derives from many causes, including past investment shortfalls in pre-service training, international migration, career changes among health workers, premature retirement, morbidity and premature mortality.5,6 Yet the dynamics of entry into and exit from the health workforce in many of these countries remain poorly understood. The sub-Saharan African population has an average physician density of 0.19 doctors to 1000 people. Access: Even though there exists an obvious shortage in doctors, a very large portion of the African population do not have access to these doctors. Because of the significant disparities in development between urban and rural areas, the bulk of the doctors are concentrated in urban areas. Due to the lack of both health workers and infrastructure in majority of rural communities, many patients bypass essential primary or preventative care and rely on local chemists or traditional healers. There is also the problem of distance to travel to the closest health facility Quality: The inadequacy of the African healthcare education system ensures that a number of physicians do not get to understand best practices to follow in the treatment of a patient thereby compromising on quality of service. Currently, there are only 170 medical schools serving over 47 countries. Also the inefficient and bureaucratic public-sector supply is often plagued by poor procurement practices that make supply of drugs costly and unavailable thereby giving rise to counterfeiting. Cost: Sub-Saharan Africa, a continent where half of the extreme poor reside, with 389 million people living on less than US$1.90 a day in 2013. Reducing supply of physicians, increasing demand brought by an increasing population, improving infrastructure and breakthrough in pharma research brings with it rising cost of healthcare. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers health insurance “a promising means for achieving universal healthcare coverage. However, health insurance cover in Africa can be expensive, complicated and tricky. Payments: Millions of Africans do not have access to digital platforms, which in recent years has had an impact on access to financial services even for those in remote areas. Even those who have this access are faced with several barriers. Delays in transactions, rising charges, excess paper work resulting in difficulty in cross border payments, especially medical tourism payments. EMR: Ill-informed clinical decision making stemming from the lack adequate recordkeeping is the hallmark of the African healthcare system. Even in situations where there is record keeping, it is usually in silos making access to that data by other institutions impossible. This becomes even more daunting for continental healthcare delivery. The patient’s overall quality of care suffers as a result of this. Fraud: Healthcare fraud in Africa is one of the leading crimes in terms of monetary value. It is a widespread and fast evolving problem, costing billions, raising insurance premiums and depriving patients of the affordable, quality medical care they need. It’s difficult to detect and complex to prevent because it involves the entire lifecycle of the healthcare delivery chain, provider and scheme members alike. Examples of healthcare fraud committed by providers include charging the insurer or payer for patient visits that didn’t occur. Social Funding: The current model of financing for small-scale public investments targeted at meeting the needs of poor and vulnerable communities is broken. Non-profits lack proper accountability as to how funds are disbursed and spent on mostly ineffective projects. The seemingly lack of transparency has made people to lose trust in the system thereby making donations inert. Africa’s First Smart Healthcare Ecosystem powered by blockchain 5

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