SEATTLE, Washington — Ghana has a well-established healthcare system, according to the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. However, it is difficult to expand high-quality services to rural areas due to limited resources and high expenses. The mTOMADY digital platform plans to change that and make healthcare in Ghana affordable.
What is mTOMADY?
mTOMADY is a digital platform with a mission to “build technology for universal healthcare for everyone.” The project, started in 2018, provides a digital platform that enables the secure exchange of healthcare payments and data by connecting beneficiaries, healthcare providers and payers via mobile money infrastructure.
mTOMADY works in a few ways. It collects real-time data on healthcare system usage, disease prevalence and treatment costs, allowing anyone to trace their impact down to individual health outcomes. It builds technology that runs on every phone, enabling patients and healthcare workers to access health financing no matter how remote. It improves operational efficiency by using technology that can be easily integrated into existing processes to streamline administration and reduce costs. It leverages cutting-edge pattern recognition and data analytics to prevent fraud and improve the quality of care. Finally, it conducts research to collect measurable, empirical evidence on how its solution to healthcare works in the real world.
Bringing mTOMADY to Ghana will allow more affordable healthcare for the poor and sick and can improve the current healthcare system Ghana has today.
Ghana’s Current Healthcare System
Ghana has a very successful national medical insurance system. The quality of service is high where services are available. Ghana also has a sophisticated administrative structure for the supervision of medical education and accreditation. However, it has proven difficult to bring high-quality services to rural areas where the majority of Ghana’s population resides.
Rural Ghana faces some challenges in accessing quality healthcare. One issue is the few physicians available in rural areas. This is due to working conditions and financial limitations. This leaves facilities short of personnel and makes it difficult to expand medical training to rural areas.
Another issue is rural hospitals lack modern equipment unlike university and urban hospitals. There are very few ventilators except in operating rooms and smaller units at military and training hospitals.
Another issue is the cost of medications. In Ghana, a week’s worth of amoxicillin can cost a patient $1. For a hospital patient, it may cost up to $6 a day. To put that in perspective, GDP per person in Ghana is $1,605 a year compared to the U.S. which is $51,700. Families in Ghana may decide medications may be too expensive or their treatment stops early because of a lack of funds.
A final issue is the cost of insurance. The Ghana ministry of health introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). NHIS would pay for hospitalizations, outpatient visits, basic lab equipment and certain medications. However, the premium costs about $10 a year and can be expensive for the sick and poor.
How Bringing in mTOMADY Can Help the Poor
According to the Africa Report, mTOMADY will cooperate with Ghana’s National Health Insurance Authority to help cover the costs of healthcare. A pilot will be conducted in the city of Kumasi to test the integration of mTOMADY with the NHIS. Beneficiaries will use mTOMADY to save, receive and send money to pay NHIS premiums as part of a drive to improve health coverage rates.
mTOMADY’s approach to healthcare would mean more of the population can have access to healthcare at reduced costs and that there will be increased operational efficiency for healthcare providers. mTOMADY argues that its solution to healthcare takes away out-of-pocket payments and makes it easier to afford and maintain health coverage.
By having a mobile phone-enabled premium payment and policy administration, health coverage is improved, especially for those in remote areas. For healthcare providers, mTOMADY provides efficient invoicing processes, reduces payment delays and cuts the risk of fraud.
According to mTOMADY, 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty over medical expenditures each year. In Ghana, the poverty rate sat at 21.4% in 2012 and over 9% of the population was in extreme poverty in 2013. By bringing the mTOMADY digital platform to Ghana, it can help reduce costs and make healthcare more affordable for the poor and sick, improving their quality of life.
– Jackson Lebedun