Rwanda will be the world’s most advanced country for digital health
Written by Babylon Team
, 3 min read
We're excited to announce that we've signed a 10-year contract with the Government of Rwanda. This contract will see our service, Babyl, rolled out to all Rwandans over the age of 12 through the government’s community-based health insurance scheme, Mutuelle de Santé. The partnership will use a digital-first approach to create Africa’s first universal primary care service and make Rwanda a world-leader in digital health.
We launched Babyl in 2016 in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, since then we have delivered over 1 million consultations to the people of Rwanda. From those in rural villages to those in the city centre, Babyl allowed patients to have a consultation with a doctor or nurse within minutes over their mobile phone. The new contract will also introduce Babylon's advanced AI technologies to the country, as medical staff will be aided by Babylon’s Artificial Intelligence-powered triage & symptom checker platform.
The Babyl system uses text messages and voice calls so that it can be used as widely as possible, even on phones with limited multimedia and internet capabilities. Over 30% of the adult population is already registered with Babyl, where our doctors and nurses currently complete 3,000 consultations every day. Not simply just a digital consultation service, the Babyl service also allows patients to receive prescriptions, lab requests and referrals all through their phone. Babyl means patients had even greater control over their own health, faster treatment and fewer trips to health facilities.
Rwandan Government officials and members from Babyl Rwanda after signing the contract
Dr Daniel Ngamije, Minister of Health in Rwanda, said:
“We are delighted to have this partnership with Babyl who will work alongside all our health institutions and RSSB to deliver this innovative digital healthcare service. Increasing access to our doctors will help stop self-diagnosis and self-medication which lead to longer-term complications. With the reduced burden on health centres and other medical institutions, our medical professionals will be able to spend more time and resources on the most serious medical cases, further increasing the quality of healthcare delivery across the country.”
Ali Parsa, Founder and CEO of Babylon, said:
“We are so proud to be helping make Rwanda a world-leader in digital health, and so humbled that the Government of Rwanda has been so impressed by our work so far that they are taking this next step with us. Rwanda is showing the world how we can sustainably tackle the challenges in healthcare.”
This new partnership will see the creation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in Rwanda, which is expected to improve record-keeping, information sharing, reduce duplication and lead to cost savings from improved health outcomes at patient and population levels.
Since its launch in 2016, Babyl has already created 300 jobs in digital health and will continue to create employment and training opportunities in Rwanda, particularly as the service launches more AI-enabled services in the future.
Shivon Byamukama, CEO of Babyl Rwanda, said:
“The people of Rwanda are supportive of this country’s forward-thinking vision and 98% of patients say they recommend Babyl and will use it again. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helped us set up this service and enabled Rwanda to demonstrate what’s possible and sustainable, now Rwanda can show the world how healthcare should be done.”
Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, said:
“Babyl’s investment in Rwanda contributes to Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation, particularly ensuring access to quality health for all, and establishes Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy by reinforcing partnerships to build skills with practical applications in health.”
Regis Rugemanshuro, Director General of RSSB, said:
“RSSB strives to increasingly deliver a comprehensive social security package that addresses all social security needs of all Rwandans. Digital healthcare is a significant step towards ensuring that all our members can conveniently access doctors without fear of loss of income or worry about travel to a medical institution. Early intervention with easier access to healthcare will also reduce the burden on our universal healthcare scheme.”
For more information, see our press release
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