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Health care now on your phone

The mobile phone has changed the way many Ugandans communicate and do business over the last decade.

Today, it’s possible for somebody to use their mobile phone to shop online, send money to a colleague or get directions to a new restaurant. According to a report by the Business Monitor International, mobile phone penetration in Uganda will exceed 90 per cent of the population, by the end of this year.

Such figures have presented an enormous opportunity for many people who have utilised the mobile phone as a platform to create business opportunities. The Medical Concierge Group (TMCG) is one of them. The partnership comprising doctors and entrepreneurs recently launched Uganda’s first ever 24/7 health call centre.

The centre is a platform where any one  who needs medical help and owns a mobile phone, can access a trained and licensed doctor, pharmacist, ambulance services and clinic references by just  calling 0417747000 at a regular fee, any time. According to Dr Davis Musinguzi, a director of TMCG, the health call centre will make health care accessible and available through phone calls, SMS and video chat.

He hopes the call centre will help reduce child mortality and the patient-doctor ratio by bringing health facilities and workers nearer to Ugandans. The call centre located in Lubaga takes 30 simultaneous calls at any one time and can support up to 8,000 calls a day.

Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, minister of state for Health (General Duties), who launched the call centre, applauded TMCG for creating an innovative solution that would benefit many Ugandans.

“The bulk of Uganda’s disease burden is a result of preventable diseases resulting from lack of information and education, thus an innovative solution like this call centre will do a lot to help many Ugandans have access to health care, information and education.”

He said the ministry was promoting e-Health to ensure that government and its partners obtain value in innovations in this digital age. Dr Musinguzi said the health call centre model worked well in places such as Europe and even next door, in Kenya and he was confident that it would succeed in Uganda.


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