What if you were suffering from the common flu and did not have access to common medication like Paracetamol? Would your experience of sickness be drastically changed? Would a stomach infection not seem insurmountable without a basic antibiotic? There are thousands of people in Somalia who suffer from more serious illnesses and endure long standing pain and discomfort. All this only because the required diagnosis and follow-up treatment is not available to them in their towns or cities.
Sometimes, Somalians travel all the way to India or Turkey seeking treatment. Often, they find themselves in foreign lands without any support on ground or information about how to navigate the medical system abroad. On an average around 200 patients travel out of Somalia every week to various cities in India for a medical treatment.
Often, Somalians find themselves in foreign lands without any support on ground or information about how to navigate the medical system abroad.
Seeing this gap in healthcare delivery, Sriram Sekhar, an Indian entrepreneur launched https://my-healthconnect.com, a technology platform for connecting to surgeons in India. my-healthconnect seeks to to make specialist medical opinion and treatment options available to patients even before they undertake economically and physically strenuous international travel.
my-healthconnect seeks to to make specialist medical opinion and treatment options available to patients even before they undertake economically and physically strenuous international travel.
Patients simply need to register on the my-healthconnect.com platform and provide basic details about their ailment. Then, my-healthconnect connects registered patients to one of its empanelled specialist doctors. Thus begins a process of familiarisation where the patient and doctor can exchange reports of tests undertaken locally or history of treatment administered by the local physician.
Eventually, the patient and doctor build an environment of trust, where they can ask questions and discuss treatment options. Patients and their families can be reassured with information about typical recovery path and follow-up medical intervention that may be required after a prescribed surgery.
my-healthconnect has been working in connecting patients in Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania for an online medical opinion. Once the patient decides to travel abroad for treatment, my-healthconnect supports them through the period of planning, preparation, travel, treatment and return to their home country. Many heartening success stories are beginning to emerge, like this one from Hargeisa in Somalia.
Najma (name changed), aged 51, was suffering from renal disease for 5 years. Her family spent many months in distress, often going from one doctor to another, one hospital to yet another. They consulted with many doctors locally in Hargeisa and in other parts of Somalia. Najma underwent a long list of tests as well. However, in the absence of a definitive diagnosis and the unavailability of renal transplant in Hargeisa, they were left unsupported to deal with this serious illness.
In July, 2017, Najma’s daughter, Deka (name changed), after hearing about my-healthconnect from one of her classmates, created an account on my-healthconnect. What is there to lose, thought Deka. To her relief, after she provided basic details about her mother’s illness, she was connected to a practicing nephrologist in Hyderabad, India. Dr Anuradha asked Bilqiis to share her mother’s medical reports and medical history on the portal. After reviewing these reports, she confirmed end stage renal disease and suggested kidney replacement.
After reviewing the reports, the doctor confirmed end stage renal disease and suggested kidney replacement.
Along with Najma and Deka, Dr Anuradha went over the medical requirements for finding a donor. Both Deka and Mohammed, her brother, volunteered to donate a kidney to their mother. They were asked to undergo donor testing under supervision of a local doctor in Hargeisa. Deka uploaded their test reports on my-healthconnect to be shared with Dr Anuradha. Luckily, Mohammed was found to be a matching donor.
As the family planned for the surgery, Dr Anuradha and my-healthconnect team could also ease Deka’s queries such as –
“Will I be able to speak to my mother after the surgery“?
“How long will the surgery take?”
“Is it true that she will have to stay in India for one month after the surgery?”
“What will it cost me?”
“What paperwork will be required at the embassy?“
Eventually, Najma and Mohammed travelled to Hyderabad for the surgery and went back home to Hargeisa one month later after a successful kidney transplant from the son to the mother. During the course of Najma’s treatment and rehabilitation, Deka who stayed on in Hargeisa, could keep in touch with the hospital as well as with Dr Anuradha. She was able to track her mother and brother’s health while continuing to work and earn for the family. Deka shudders to think what may have happened if she hadn’t filled out a simple form to reach out for help across the continents.
Technology and enterprise can truly solve problems. Luckily, as for Deka and her family, the solution is only a connection away. An online medical opinion saved all the hassle.
Technology and enterprise can truly solve problems