The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for and importance of virtual services. Everything from shopping, to work and even medical services shifted to the digital space. With increasing digital adoption globally and in Africa specifically, telemedicine services are becoming even more essential to the well-being of those who would normally not have access to good quality care due to expense. With their accessibility, healthtech innovations have the potential to pull Nigeria’s abysmal healthcare system into the 21st century because they make premium medical care available to anyone with a digital device. 

One such essential healthtech startup is WellaHealth which provides healthcare services by leveraging technology and collaborating with local pharmacies and other healthcare providers to make healthcare coverage available, starting at a price as low as N600 a month.

Launched in 2017 by Dr Ikpeme Neto, WellaHealth is a health-tech startup that provides affordable and accessible high-quality coverage for healthcare. They partner with healthcare providers and insurance suppliers to provide financing and cut down costs for people seeking medical care. WellaHealth helps users cut down on in-person hospital visits for common diseases and in so doing helps cut down on extensive queues and hospital wait time, while also reducing the cost for tests and medication.

WellaHealth has grown exponentially since its launch and the startup is excited to announce WellaHealth 2.0– a new and refreshed service offering for its consumers. Taking the lessons they’ve learnt since launching their affordable health plans over 3 years ago, this latest iteration will incorporate a number of new services and experiences and an improvement on previously existing services.

Initially starting with malaria coverage, WellaHealth has expanded to cover consultation for other common illnesses and infections and now chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. WellaHealth services also cover drugs to treat these illnesses via point-of-care consultation and testing at about 1,600 local pharmacies that they collaborate with.

With plans ranging from basic to the broader HospiCash plan, users can get coverage for:

  • Malaria tests and drugs if you test positive
  • Blood pressure test 
  • Diabetes test
  • Telemedicine services which include virtual doctor consultation where you can chat or talk with a Doctor.
  • Funeral coverage which will be paid to your next of kin in the event of death.
  • And up to N100,000 cash-back on hospital visits per year.

Users can get all these and even diet plans for as low as N800 per month at their nearest pharmacy.

With an easy registration process, partnership with local pharmacies, and pre-paid and automated point-of-service care, the value of WellaHealth plans lie in the convenience they provide; they reduce hospital travel costs and make authentic medication available, their accessibility, and also affordability; with inclusive financing plans that cater to the earning power of the average Nigerian.

The state of the traditional healthcare industry in Nigeria is deplorable. Healthcare in Nigeria is inadequate, underfunded and underdeveloped and medical practitioners are in short supply. Diseases like malaria plague the general population costing the global economy an estimated $12 billion annually and much more in loss of labour and death. In 2020 alone there were an estimated 241 million cases of malaria globally, with 627,000 deaths and Nigeria alone constituted up to 31.9% of these deaths out of the 4 countries that make up this statistic.

For people living in a country plagued by high poverty rates, seeking medical care can be too much of a financial constraint. With a minimum wage of N30,000, and underserved and overcrowded public health facilities, patients have to rely on private healthcare providers which cost too much for the average household. Oftentimes these patients who cannot pay expensive out-of-pocket costs for private care turn to self-diagnosis and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, which are dangerous and can exacerbate certain conditions and in some cases lead to death.

Although available, health insurance is not widely adopted. 97% of Nigerians are without health insurance and of the existing 3% most people with insurance get coverage from work. Compared to the earning power in the Nigerian society, health insurance is too expensive but many families run into debt paying out-of-pocket for chronic conditions.

WellaHealth wants to change this by leveraging technology and creating affordability. Since its initial launch, the startup has learnt that many Nigerians suffer in ignorance over health and are unaware of health insurance. A lot of people have nowhere to go to discuss, learn, and receive great health advice. This discovery led the startup to partner with Wellvis, the telemedicine platform where patients get one-on-one tailored advice from medical practitioners, to solve this problem in the past.

Now, WellaHealth has acquired Wellvis as part of their 2.0 launch and with this acquisition they now have the ability to provide telemedicine services that give users the ability to speak to or text a doctor for any health challenge, whether simple or complex and a Q&A feature. All previous Wellvis users have been migrated onto the WellaHealth platform and now have access to a free WellaHealth plan.

Other services that come with WellaHealth 2.0 include:

  • Access to an online community for healthcare practitioners to discuss the unique challenges they face in Nigerian healthcare.
  • ‘Chronicare’ which is an affordable bundle care package for chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell disease, and more. 
  • Higher benefit plans that cover maternity, hospital admissions and more. 
  • Drug discounts and coverage for drugs for chronic conditions. This also comes with a medication delivery and refill option through WellaHealth’s fulfilment service.

Another problem that WellaHealth hopes to solve is the difficulty average Nigerians face when trying to find and pay for authentic medication. Chronic conditions like diabetes and sickle cell disease often lead to death and disability and the need to mitigate this informed the design of WellaHealth’s new service where there are dedicated, specific and affordable packages for chronic conditions and these care bundles include the basic medications people with these conditions need and the option to have a regular doctor check-up and lab work done, to keep their condition under control.

Besides individual and family plans, WellaHealth also includes coverage for staff, so businesses who concern themselves with employee well-being can get a group plan for staff.

WellaHealth is excited to be working on these bundle plans with several leading pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies who are keen to see more affordable access to quality medicines.

With its methods of making healthcare available at a customer’s fingertips, WellaHealth is at the front of the current innovative tech-oriented change in the African healthcare system.

Dedicated to its belief that African lives and health matter, WellaHealth is committed to making healthcare affordable and accessible to everyone regardless of class status or income bracket and the startup is only just getting started on its mission of bringing healthcare to the door of every African at an affordable rate.

Interested users and businesses can take advantage of this low pricing now and buy a plan by visiting the pricing page or requesting a quote for businesses. 

To find out more, go to the website.

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