The everyday hustle and bustle of city life is taking a toll on so much of its dwellers that a lot of the working class people have no time for important things such as the regular use of medicines, or making out time to visit the doctor for a medical examination when they are ill. However, Famasi Africa is making it easy for people to access their medicines easily from nearby pharmacists as well as take their drugs on time – at seamless and affordable cost for its customers.
During the Business Half Hour programme by Nairametrics, Adeola Ayoola, CEO and co-founder, Famasi Africa explained that the platform is helping to connect patients that have to take medicines on a regular basis with their providers, including pharmacists, doctors, diagnostics partners, anybody that ensures the patient gets well.
She explained, “The way we try to make it more accessible is that we work with pharmacies that are in different locations very close to patients, depending on where our patients are; we have pharmacies that are close to them and can serve their needs. That way it’s easier for them to access their drugs and we also look for providers within that area so it’s just easy for patients to quickly get there because they know they will get their needs and they don’t have to go to like multiple places before they get it.”
She added that Famasi Africa offers virtual consultations for anyone that does not have a prescription, by connecting them with a provider that sells the drugs. “We don’t just go out to refer people to any pharmacist at all. We ensure that the pharmacies or the providers liaise with doctors that are people that are licensed, they have all of the appropriate license to operate legally. And that means people when they go there, they are getting the right drugs, they aren’t getting fake medications and we can vouch for the quality of the service that they get from these providers.”
She also emphasized how Famasi Africa ensures subscribers can take drugs on credit to pay back when they eventually get their monthly payments or to split payments so it is not overwhelming for patients. In addition, it tries to create personalized plans by talking to the patient to understand their financial structure so as to schedule their refill for that period.
According to Ayoola, understanding why people do what they do is crucial when dealing with patients and this has helped the platform to fashion a solution around self-medication which a lot of people are guilty of. In the course of providing services to clients over the years, Famasi Africa has gotten to understand that people think going all the way and taking time off work is stressful, so they would rather just get the medications. On this note, Famasi Africa is working with diagnostic partner that would help conduct tests at the convenience of patients.
She said, “We bring the solution around your convenience. If you can’t go out, they will facilitate a virtual consult or if you need someone to come to your home to take the sample then we can get that done for you and you don’t even have to leave wherever you are. What we do is first understand where they are coming from and what’s with them to find a solution to make it easy for them but they still always need to talk to a doctor because without investigations, we are only just guessing what’s happening in the body and the result of that can become fatal.”
Famasi Africa offers 2 package categories: the wellness Packages; for people who don’t have any condition but just suddenly feel symptoms; and the special care packages – for those who have pre-existing conditions, including diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, ulcer, they already have medication that they use and they’ve been using for a while. Hence, it is able to ensure a patient gets a constant price for their drug – at least for a long period – except if something drastic happens.
In terms of challenges associated with running the business, Ayoola identified logistics in terms of getting the right person to deliver the right condition at the right time to customers because drugs are not things you would send and wait for days before people get them.
She added that this challenge is born out of the fact that people wait until it is too late before they start to look for a solution that can help to cure it. “People wait until it is late before they now start to look for solution and sometimes that solution is available but can’t get to you at that time,” she said.
Speaking on the five-year projection plan of Famasi Africa, Ayoola said the platform intends to continue to connect providers to patients to allow them to get access to health care as fast as possible beyond Nigeria.
“We are looking to move this beyond Nigeria. In the next five to ten years we would go out of Nigeria to other countries because they have also experienced this problem that we are trying to solve and we would be working with different partners in their country to deliver good health care,” she said.
Speaking on what needs to be done to improve healthcare in Nigeria, she said, “I think a more public-private partnership would go a long way in improving this. More budget allocation for healthcare solutions would also really go a long way in doing this, when all of these are put together, we can now start to solve the other problem because the problem in the healthcare space is a lot but if we have the foundation sorted, every individual can build on that basis that has been sorted.”
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