In June 2022, Côte d’Ivoire became the first Sub-Saharan country to benefit from Orange Santé. It is an e-health platform that serves both patients and doctors with facilities such as online appointment booking, digital medical records, teleconsultations, etc. Orange Santé is the product of a partnership between Orange and DabaDoc. Dabadoc is a recent Morrocan start-up that aims to “democratize access to health care with its practice management solution and disruptive online booking technology.” This e-health platform in Côte d’Ivoire could help solve many issues within the health care sector.
Health Care in Côte d’Ivoire
In Côte d’Ivoire, the public health care system is lacking. First and foremost, the hospitals and medical centers are understaffed, with only one doctor per 10,000 inhabitants. This makes Côte d’Ivoire one of Africa’s weakest countries in regard to health care. In addition, the staff are reportedly poorly trained and nurses are sometimes referred to as doctors. In order to become a doctor in Côte d’Ivoire, a prospective student must take exams to be entered into the Institut National de Formation des Agents de Santé (INFAS).
Retired doctor, Dr. Koné E, said that it is common for a family to bribe the department that proctors the exam, so the child is able to pass. In his interview with Africa Blogging, he also said this strengthens the claim that in Côte d’Ivoire, “money is at the forefront of everything.” Thus, the lack of proper training results in inadequate care for the patients that are able to see a doctor.
According to Africa Blogging, health centers in Côte d’Ivoire are more focused on money than their patients. Health centers accept patients “only on the presentation of banknotes, whatever their condition is.” Socio-political situations from 1999 and the post-election crisis in 2010 had a negative impact on the health care system in the country. The social protection system in Côte d’Ivoire only covers costs for “occupational accidents and illnesses.” This attitude of valuing the pay more than the patient, however, led to incidents of fatal medical negligence in health care facilities, Africa Blogging reports.
Renovating Health Care in Côte d’Ivoire
The e-health platform in Côte d’Ivoire, Orange Santé, could be the starting point for renovating health care in the country. This platform digitized medical records to contribute to the organization and patient history. Doctors can better serve their patients with knowledge of and access to their complete medical history. Institut National de Formation des Agents de Santé aims at Ivorian health care facilities, allowing them to be listed on its platform. The platform then aids the member facilities with online booking and managing their digital medical records, so the facilities improve their organization and visibility. Patients are able to see a variety of specialists and choose with whom they would like to consult.
By 2023, Orange Santé plans to add other services to the Côte d’Ivoire platform such as remote consultations and also expand to other Sub-Saharan countries. The lack of medical infrastructure helps facilitate the shortage of healthcare. An e-health platform in Côte d’Ivoire with online consultations could solve this issue by not requiring any buildings to serve patients in need of care. Remote parts of the country that have scarce health care could no longer be at a disadvantage and more people could have access to proper healthcare.
– Jordan Oh