In our efforts at 249Startups to generate information , data and opportunities in sudanese markets , We have launched series of forums where we will be hosting experts, Corporate executives and entrepreneurs to detect challenging areas and market gaps, and identify what opportunities lie within it, and to provide market insights and know-how on approaching specified subjects.
This is done with the aim of equipping the participants with explicit knowledge about the identified markets and widen their horizons by communicating the different opportunities which lie within them, and try to direct them towards working in areas that are currently a priority for government , development & private sectors .Additionally, encourage the participants to develop solutions to address the identified challenges and gaps in the industry.
And, with the call for applicants for the 3rd batch of the Orange Corners Sudan Incubation Program started, we are considering how the upcoming incubation cohort can address these challenges as well as the needs of the country. With that came the idea
of the incubation program having thematic tracks dedicated to the identified challenging areas and gaps.
Eighth Forum : Innovation and Awareness: Tools to Better Healthcare Services & Wellbeing Forum
In our this forum presented by 249Startups, and in collaboration with Alawasi for Medical Solution, we had the Former Senior Health Officer Dr. Mahmoud Elsharif, with Asrar Fadulelsied Rabeah, Sudan Ministry of Health & GAVI alliance for vaccination and immunization, & Deputy Manager for Health System Strengthening Project, along side with Dr. Hashim Suliman Registerar of Emergency Medicine and Co-founder of the Medical home services platforms Doctor On Call. And also Dr. Yassin Omer, Registrar of Emergency Medicine, and Member of the Council Of Isolation and Command Center.
The discussion topic was around Health in Sudan and its role in Economic Development as an important and essential factor, and it was moderated by Dr. Mohamed Elaibid, Senior Registerar of Anesthesia and Critical care – a batch 2 participant of the Orange Corners Sudan program- and Founder of Alawasi Medical Solution.Watch the full webinar and reach the summary of discussion points .
Health is one of the eight tracks of the Orange Corners Program. This webinar is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about the opportunities available in these paths.
There’s a very wide range of opportunities in entrepreneurship and innovation in the healthcare sector, starting from providing medical consultancy to patients through the phone, all the way to AI (artificial intelligence) and mobile phone application.
Historically, entrepreneurship in healthcare isn’t something new, some racecourse says in America it started before WWI.
- Health, according to the World Health Organisation, Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
- Healthcare systems is the organization of people, institutions, and resources that deliver health care services to meet the health needs of target populations.
- Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in people.
- Primary healthcare, essential health care” that is based on scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology. This makes universal health care accessible to all individuals and families in a community.
Healthcare isn’t just curing diseases, it has 4 stages :
Healthcare system components
- Healthcare workers or providers.
- Health information and disease surveillance.
- Service delivery.
- Medicine and technologies.
Each one of these components endures huge challenges, which creates an opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop and come up with innovative solutions. In Sudan, 70% of healthcare facilities don’t provide full primary healthcare services, because the distribution of healthcare providers isn’t fair.
The current healthcare situation in Sudan
We have 5,676 primary healthcare centres, 4515 of them are currently working.479 public hospitals, their capacity is more 27,000, with176 blood banks. 1.2 hospitals can provide healthcare services to 100,000 people, which means this is a really dark situation.
Furthermore, those numbers aren’t fairly distributed between states, if we did a deeper analysis we will find most of these centres and hospitals are distributed between Khartoum and other central states.
If we took Darfur as an example of marginalised places where NGOs and humanitarians are active to provide services, we find most of them built shelters or temporary buildings to provide services and once their work is done these places no longer exist so we cannot count them with the ongoing healthcare facilities.
- The First challenge that faces primary healthcare services is the quality of service provided. Moreover, we have very poor community engagement. As well as health insurance coverage. All these factors led to a huge distribution in the primary healthcare system in Sudan.
- Second, By secondary care, we mean hospitals, usually big hospitals will have different sectors providing different types of services.
- Third, there is Tertiary healthcare which involves specific surgeries.
The emergency healthcare services are a little bit different, unfortunately, in Sudan, we don’t have an emergency system, it’s very poor. When we say emergency system it means more than the hospital and the emergency room. In primary healthcare services, there’s no ambulance or emergency, ER is available only in secondary care.
The private sector in healthcare
We have a big demand for healthcare services, so the agencies that provide these services with it’s different stages can be divided into :
- Governmental centres and hospitals
- Insurance centres or hospitals
- Healthcare facilities related to the army or the police.
- Private healthcare facilities.
There are only 118 private hospitals in Sudan, 77 of them are located in Khartoum State (65% of the private hospitals).
Cost of service
In 2006 and 2008 the government set laws that the emergency care must be free, also a free treatment for children under five and pregnant women. Nonetheless, out of pocket payment (paid by the patient) in return for healthcare services is very high in Sudan.
The private healthcare sector was founded because of the high demand for healthcare services. Investment in healthcare is a national role, it’s not limited to investors, it’s the government, the NGOs, and the entrepreneur’s responsibility.
Sudan lacks the holistic view, if all different sectors in Sudan joined hands, this will save us a lot of wasted energy and resources. Also, we need to redistribute the service to achieve social justice.
There are three types of investment in healthcare
- Investment in providing healthcare services such as hospitals, clinics, and laboratories.
- Investment in medicine and healthcare supplies manufacturing.
- Investment in the information.
There’s a big gap in investment in information, in Sudan we have good software and telecommunication infrastructure but there’s still no national database for patients. This is an opportunity for anyone who wants to invest in the healthcare sector.
We can use modern technologies, social media, TV, newspapers to raise awareness about the impact of healthcare, there’s plenty of ways to deliver awareness, but this produced another problem which is misinformation.
Challenges of investment in healthcare
- The absence of laws and regulations.
- Availability of data.
- Economic situation.
- Human resources.
Opportunities for Startups
There are many rolls startups can play :
- Raise awareness, through campaigns and raising funds for example.
- Increase healthcare scope and quality.
- The partnership between the public and the private sector. An emergency ambulance is a great example of the partnership between the public and private sector, all countries around the world are following this model.
Most of the breakout diseases we have can be avoided through investment in environmental health, and awareness it’s important to find innovative solutions to engage the communities and raise their understanding, Sudan also faces difficulties in power supply and delivery of services, so why not investors use solar energy systems, for example, to provide healthcare services in places that require it. Any investment in healthcare is a social contribution.
Doctor on call
It’s a platform, that enables you to consult for a doctor, or a nurse, as well as collection of samples for examination in primary healthcare level and emergency cases. This service is available in two forms, a smartphone application, call centre.
This Article had been developed by 249Startups Team for purpose of learning and sharing knowledge as part of Markets Opportunities Mapping Forum .