New digital primary care platform to launch in South Africa

Webrock, venture capital and private equity company headquartered in Stockholm, has partnered with Healthforce, a digital health company majority-owned by South Africa’s leading retail pharmacy chain Dis-Chem, to launch a Swedish healthcare app  Doktor.se in South Africa. 

Doktor.se enables users to find, book and access quality healthcare

The launch of the platform in Africa follows a pre-seed round of $3-million in funding secured and according to reports the platform will initially launch in South Africa with plans to expand across the continent.

Joshin Raghubar, Partner at Webrock Ventures Africa explains that its hand in the success of a digital health app in South America spurred on the launch of Doktor.se in Africa.

“Given the speed at which telehealth has grown over the past few years globally, coupled with our experience from successfully building Brazil’s largest digital health company, ViBe Saúde, there is a window of opportunity to transform access to healthcare on the African continent. With a large population and rapidly increasing smartphone and internet penetration, Africa is an obvious and attractive healthtech market opportunity. Using data is infinitely cheaper than having to spend time and money traveling to and from clinics, not to mention paying for the clinic visit itself.” 

The partners believe that it is the perfect time to launch such a platform due to the digital adoption that accompanied the Covid-19 crisis which has made South Africans more comfortable with using tech to access services.

Saul Kornik, CEO of Healthforce explains that the new platform will provide easy access to primary care for many Africans. 

“Currently, only 16% of South Africans[i], 9% of Nigerians[ii] and 1% of Ugandans[iii] for example have medical scheme cover since the costs remain out of reach for the majority of the African population. While governments on the continent are attempting to make quality health services more accessible via national health insurance schemes, universal healthcare provision has not proven feasible seeing that there are people living in rural areas with little to no access to facilities, while others reside in urban areas and have these on their doorstep. But this new platform, to a large extent, ensures everyone can enjoy the same quality care from the same group of healthcare professionals, no matter where in Africa they are situated, as long as they have a cellphone and internet connection.” 

Doktor.se

Founded in Stockholm, Doktor.se is an e-health company that helps members find, book, and get access to the best healthcare.

The platform, which makes use of a freemium model and innovative approaches to reduce data costs, offers on-demand and scheduled consultations with nurses, general practitioners, mental health professionals, and ongoing wellness management.

The platform has been designed to ensure a fully integrated end-to-end healthcare system that allows for a holistic and comprehensive view of each patient across different cadres of healthcare workers in order to allocate the most appropriate resource to meet the needs of the patient. 

Additionally, it will be incorporated into Healthforce’s network of 450 primary care clinics across South Africa where hands-on care will be provided if needed. The solution aims to reduce the cost of quality care while improving health outcomes, reach patients in remote areas, and alleviate the pressure on the traditional medical support systems.

“We are happy to be a part of unlocking the potential of telemedicine in Sub-Saharan Africa. We’ve done this before with Webrock Ventures in Brazil and are proud to form a strategic partnership to repeat this success in a new market. Thanks to Healthforce’s impressive infrastructure, we believe that it will be possible to launch better and more accessible healthcare for everyone at a record pace,” concludes Martin Lindman, co-founder & CEO at Doktor.se.

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Read more: Small Business Booster Programme launches in SA

Featured image: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash 

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