Econet unveils mobile health service

HARARE - Econet Wireless yesterday launched a new product, Dial-A-Doc, aimed at providing health tips to people in emergency situations.

The product, which is spearheaded by Econet Health, a subsidiary of the mobile telecommunications giant, allows clients to receive emergency health information directly from doctors anytime if they dial 147 at a cost of $0,70 per minute.

Portia Manangazira, Health and Child Care ministry director of epidemiology and disease control, said the programme is essential in reducing morbidity, mortality and ballooning costs in treatment and care.

“Things in the health sector have been very difficult; determinants of health are not excluded. It’s amazing how technologies can remove those bottlenecks to service delivery,” said Manangazira during the launch of Dial-A-Doc in Harare yesterday.

Manangazira said such platforms help to achieve millennium development goals and deal with persistent human resources challenges that have crippled the health sector for years.

Precious Lunga, head of Econet Health, said the initiative was inspired by the need to reduce the overwhelming workload faced by health professionals.

Responding to a question on the call cost per minute, Econet chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the call cost is justified compared with actual visits to a health provider.

“To realise it’s cheaper, you should look at available alternatives to the service,” he said.

“If your grandmother had to go to the nearest clinic, how much would it cost her to travel, not forgetting the time factor?”

“There is nothing for free. It takes something to create such platforms and clients have to pay a practical fee for it to be viable. I think it’s something that has killed a lot of industries in our country”.

Official statistics show that mobile penetration rates in Zimbabwe now stand at 106 percent.

A recent University of Zimbabwe study found that 97 percent of women who received text messages turned up on the correct date to vaccinate their babies compared to the 74 percent among those who did not receive the text messages.

Comments (5)

Well done Econet. This is a practical solution that brings positive change to the health of Zimbabwe society. I challenge other companies to come with similar positive initiatives to address some of the social challenges the Zimbos are facing.

JAY - 12 February 2015

Great move Econet,keep on helping in developing your country as it needs its own sons and daughters of the land most at this critical moment

carson macate - 12 February 2015

how will the prescription issue work in this platfoam

zuva radoms - 12 February 2015

ok lets assume i be prescribed through this system what do i do for drugs that require a doctor's written prescription.eventually i wld be forced to visit a doctor and pay those huge somes.besides what would be the relevance of our medical aids where we pay huge sums again.this is a noble idea in the wrong direction.give yourselves time to think again and see whether its fit to do that.even that director shld hev given hersef time to peruse through the product before she cld drink water in front of pple officiating on such a product.these dayz our medical aids allows us to call an ambulance to come and pick a patient.

CHIVHANGO - 12 February 2015

Chivhango thanks for your comment. But dont look at your own situation. How many Zimbabweans have medical aid? I have not done the research by thumb suck I can put it at over 70% dont have. so you can't debate along those lines. Your other point of how do the patient gets a written note to take to Pharmacies, this needs debate, and can be resolved electronically by introducing electronic signatures if the technology allows or can be enabled. This needs discussion.

stanley - 13 February 2015

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