Using Tech, A Group Of Young People Is Restoring Care To Nigeria’s Healthcare

  • On its journey to seal the cracks in the healthcare system, Famasi Africa arms itself with two things: technology and a truckload of compassion.

Elizabeth* and her inhaler were inseparable at the start of the year. The 22-year-old would fall asleep holding it and wake up gasping for air. She used the inhaler as many as eight times a day and had to buy a new one every other week. It was both stressful and expensive.

When she heard of Famasi Africa, she saw them as a company that could make her life a bit easier by delivering inhalers to her doorstep. But after subscribing, she “got something even better”.

They assessed her health and recommended using mostly maintenance inhalers – not simply emergency ones. Within a month, Elizabeth was down to using the inhaler only thrice a day, reducing both the stress and the expenses. Famasi also regularly checked up on her, reminded her to take her medication, and supported her in achieving her health goals. She now sees it as more than a delivery company. 

“They’re just like a companion that makes my health their priority,” she says. “It felt like they made it their mission that I was using fewer inhalers. After a year of using Famasi, my asthma got so much better.”

The idea to start Famasi, a digital pharmacy and health tech startup based in Nigeria, came after a series of observations.

First, back in 2017, when the CEO and co-founder, Adeola Ayoola, 28, worked at Nigeria’s National Hospital, she saw hundreds of people queue every day just to collect drug refills such as antiretrovirals. She noticed that despite going through that stress, many of these people did not always take their medication. It could be that they forgot or misplaced the pills.

“I didn’t have a solution [at the time], but I spotted the problem,” she says.

At another time, during an Uber trip in Lagos, Adeola and her co-founder, Umar Faruq Akinwunmi, noticed the driver chewing dried ginger and honey. He explained that the combination kept him healthy since taxi drivers hardly had time to visit physicians. The driver also expressed dissatisfaction with the healthcare system. Hospitals did not always provide the drugs they prescribed but would ask patients to find them themselves.


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