Bolt offers free ride to Nigerian medical workers

Ride-hailing service provider, Bolt has initiated a scheme that offers free rides to members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), casting fresh light on how private partnerships aiming to improve healthcare access may also be shooting at cracking the health transport market.

In a sector troubled by different challenges impeding the smooth delivery of care to teeming Nigerian patients, the initiative aims to ease the mobility of healthcare workers to their duty posts and by extension provide patients with an adequate critical workforce.

For many, it is a bright spot in the midst of a system that has been rapidly short-staffed due to migration abroad for improved pay and working conditions.

But analysts also count it as an attempt to capture a huge buy-in from Nigeria’s health market, starting with free subscriptions for doctors.

This has been practiced by Bolt competitors such as Uber and Lyft in the United States where health providers can secure rides for patients, caregivers, and staff through a portal.

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Uber Health, for instance, uses text messages, an online platform, and landline phone calls to coordinate rides, so that patients don’t require an app or a smartphone to use the service.

Also, rides can be arranged up to 30 days in advance, which means transportation could be scheduled for follow-up appointments while the patient is still at the healthcare facility.

Apart from scheduling rides on the dashboard, providers can also use the platform to track monthly billing statements and appointments and to produce scheduling reports.

Abisola Odukoya, Nigeria Public Policy Specialist at Bolt said the scheme implemented under the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) is targeted at appreciating the commitment of health workers to public welfare during the height of the pandemic.

She said it has become a priority for the company to initiate ways of leaving a positive impact on the well-being of communities where they operate.

“The partnership with the NMA is important to us as we understand the importance of access to resources and solutions to make certain things convenient for them. We will continue to fulfill our CSR initiatives to empower and enable our communities for cities built around people,” she