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Telemedicine will gain ample ground in Nigeria post-COVID-19 – Lawal

Kazeem Lawal is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Axocheck – a subscription-based app with concierge healthcare professionals that carry out in-home basic health checks on users. In this interview with JOSEPHINE OKOJIE, he spoke about telemedicine and bridging Nigeria’s healthcare gaps.

What inspired the Axocheck – health-based app?

Babatunde Jegede, Gbenga Solademi, and I came together and worked on the Axocheck designed to support preventive care in the Nigeria healthcare system. Tunde and I went to secondary school together, and we have always had the intention to make a change in this country by leveraging technology. As such, we brought the best strategic mind we knew on-board in the person of Gbenga. With our individuals’ many years of experience in various fields and industries, we were able to create the Axocheck health-based solution to contribute to the growth in the Nigerian healthcare system.

As the world battles a pandemic, the need for remote healthcare is bigger than ever before. How will this app support user in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic?

Since the advent of COVID-19, the need for people to stay on top of their health, and the need for home care has become more important than ever before. The place of remote care in the healthcare sector has become increasingly more important. However, we still understand the need to have a human touch concerning health-based issues. We provided a solution that reduces frequent hospital visits and reduces the high risk of contracting the virus from medical centers. Our highly trained nursing professionals understand the need for safety and would, therefore, be in the perfect position to carry out health checks and help address emergencies.

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When the pandemic is finally curtailed, healthcare is never going back to the way it was before; do you think telemedicine will gain ample grounds in Nigeria post-COVID-19?

I think that telemedicine is here to stay, as people are becoming more tech-savvy. It is important to note that while technology is an enabler, there is also the place of the human touch especially with regards to the medical field. Axocheck as a hybrid e-health solution provides an in-person visit from a healthcare professional backed up with telemedicine capabilities that will be engaged when necessary. This hybrid approach is necessary, as the market is still not fully matured for a full-fledged telemedicine approach.

In your opinion, what is the future outlook of telemedicine in healthcare?

The future is bright, and we believe that the hybrid approach is the key, and using technology to set apps, using it to capture inputs in real-time during visits, and having access to your record is the future. All of these and more are very much available and delivered by the Axocheck app today.

How exactly will this app keep tabs on user health?

The key is records. We have developed a centralized system where users can easily access their records and can transfer them to specialists when they need them. The Axocheck app has a robust backend system that allows us to gather user health information privately and safely. The system can be accessed by the user and by extension the user’s hospital with permission.

Digital health solutions like this are blossoming in Nigeria. What sets Axocheck apart?

Five things set us apart. The entire experience is hybrid, as the technology is backed up by great healthcare professionals. Secondly, healthcare professionals on the platform use the app to complete the process. There is no paper involved during the entire check process, as all data are capture with the app. Everything is accomplished in real-time. Thirdly, certified medical doctors review notes from the field while providing feedback and recommendations to clients plus easy access to history/record for patients can be ported as needed. Finally, we truly embody prevention being better than cure as we seek to get ahead of health problems that users may experience.

With Nigeria’s low doctor-patient ratio, how will this app improve access to quality healthcare?

We understand the many challenges experienced in the Nigerian healthcare sector; one of the many being the low doctor-patient ratio. This is why we have gone in the direction of using the many available highly skilled and trained nurses as a stopgap to catching health issues before they become a huge medical problem. When we get in front of these health issues, we would automatically reduce the need for many doctors in the short term while when we continue to grow the doctor base as a nation.

Many Nigerians struggle financially; would this be a more affordable option for many?

One of the most exciting things about the Axocheck option is that it’s very affordable. Apart from affordability, it also will save people high treatment costs when ailments are detected earlier.

Is this app open for use to all Nigerians?

Yes, it is available for all Nigerians. We also encourage all Nigerians in the diaspora to take advantage of this solution as a means of keeping tabs on the health of their loved ones back home. The Axocheck App is available on Apple and Google Play stores, and you can get additional information on axocheck.com.

Considering that you’re targeting the older demography in particular, would they be able to use it easily without help because they may not be very tech-savvy?

We are targeting all Nigerians. The current life expectancy in Nigeria is less than 55 years for males and 57 for women. As such, we have an opportunity to get in front of the many health issues which impact us as a nation by taking advantage of the Axocheck Health check App. The technology is so easy to use and intentionally designed in such a way that all users would be able to use it.

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