Access to medical services in a country where doctor-to-patient ratios average 1:25,000 and a trip to the GP can leave patients seriously out of pocket is a huge problem. It’s one with which The Medical Concierge Group (TMCG) – an organisation working in Uganda and Kenya – is all too familiar. TMCG operate a number of health services, including a call centre staffed by doctors and pharmacists that provides advice, reassurance and where necessary referrals to those unable or unwilling to see a doctor in person. We’re delighted to have awarded them a grant of £15,000 towards the costs of this work and to enable them to increase the already impressive 100,000 calls they deal with each month.
TMCG are looking to expand their reach within Uganda’s three major universities and ensure that young people have access to appropriate and youth-friendly services. This is especially important in the fields of sexual and reproductive healthcare, where confidentiality and privacy are key concerns. Also important is that students can access these services in the way that is most familiar and comfortable to them – hence the centre accepts contacts via voice, SMS, social media, chat services, email and video. Indigo’s funding will be used to support the expansion of such services through technical costs, staff salaries and marketing and outreach work to let students know the service is available. Voice calls to the centre are charged at local network rates, while data services may be accessible free of charge provided a user has a Wifi connection.
By Matthew O’Reilly