Afrihealth, a premier technology solutions provider in Nigeria, has launched Rigour+, a groundbreaking medical super app set to transform the African healthcare landscape by addressing critical challenges such as medical brain drain, and counterfeit drugs, and providing convenience and quality healthcare services at users’ fingertips.
In a country where the doctor-to-patient ratio is at 1:5,000 compared to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of 1:600, Nigeria’s healthcare system has long struggled with medical brain drain as professionals seek better working conditions and higher salaries abroad.
This trend is becoming increasingly problematic because, in recent times, the medical brain drain in Nigeria has worsened and heightened. For instance, statistics revealed that 13,609 Nigerian health workers emigrated to the United Kingdom (UK) between 2021 and 2022.
Besides the UK – a top destination for most Nigerian health workers, these medical professionals are also migrating to Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the United States. Take the story of Dr Tolu Akinola, a Nigerian physician working tirelessly in a local hospital, overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients and limited resources. After receiving an offer to practice in the United States, she emigrated, contributing to Nigeria’s medical brain drain.
On the trail of this increasing and problematic medical brain are serious economic consequences chief of which is an increase in the amount of money spent on medical tourism. A report reveals that annually, Nigeria spends $1.2 – $1.6 billion on medical tourism.
This spells doom for economic growth as monies meant to boost the Nigerian economy are constantly taken outside the shores of the country to boost the economies of other countries. Also, the increasing medical brain drain leads to a loss of human capital and income from taxes payable by emigrating medical personnel, leading to a decline in economic growth.
Hence, Rigour+ aims to directly address the issue of medical brain drain and stem its consequent economic effects by offering professional development opportunities and creating clear career advancement paths for health workers.
By providing an innovative platform that supports telemedicine, Rigour+ enables healthcare professionals like Dr Akinola to reach a wider patient base and offer their expertise without leaving Nigeria, thereby revolutionizing healthcare access for millions of Nigerians and Africans.
Afrihealth’s Rigour+ medical super app also tackles counterfeit drugs, a significant problem in Nigeria. Counterfeit drugs have led to thousands of preventable fatalities, with 10-15% of drugs in circulation estimated to be fake or substandard.
According to Bloomberg, Nigeria has the most counterfeit market globally, with a counterfeit drug prevalence rate higher than the global average of 10%. The prevalence of counterfeit drugs in the Nigerian market has health and economic consequences.
For instance, a study shows that Nigeria recorded 9700 deaths and $698 million in total economic losses due to counterfeit antimalarial drugs alone. Imagine the overall economic burden that is incurred from other counterfeit drugs.
This issue is poignantly illustrated in the case of young Michael, a boy who suffered severe complications from taking counterfeit antimalarial medication. While the challenge of counterfeit drugs is quite poignant in Nigeria and Africa, official data collection on counterfeit drugs is largely missing.
Hence, Rigour+ helps with these challenges and offers a cutting-edge scanning feature to verify product integrity, detect counterfeit drugs, and ensure the wholesomeness of products for consumption, helping to prevent tragic situations like Michael’s from occurring in the future.
Afrihealth CEO, Linda Obi, states, “With Rigour+, we are taking a bold step towards addressing the pressing issues in Nigeria’s healthcare landscape, such as the alarming medical brain drain and counterfeit drugs.
The World Health Organization recommends a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:1,000, but in Nigeria, we face a ratio of 1:5,000. This is exacerbated by the disparity in earnings between Nigerian doctors and their counterparts abroad.
The Nigerian government’s healthcare expenditure of 3.76% of GDP in 2019 is significantly lower than the global average of about 10%. By launching Rigour+, we hope to inspire the government and other stakeholders to invest more in healthcare infrastructure, training, and strategies to attract and retain skilled health workers.
We believe this app has the potential to radically transform healthcare access for Nigerians, making it more accessible, convenient, and reliable than ever before.”
Rigour+ is now available for free download on the App Store and Google Play Store. Afrihealth envisions Rigour+ as the catalyst for transforming healthcare access across Nigeria and the broader African continent, ultimately retaining and attracting skilled health professionals and improving the nation’s healthcare landscape through increased investment in infrastructure, training, and incentives.
About Afrihealth: Afrihealth is a leading technology solutions provider based in Nigeria, specializing in innovative solutions addressing the most pressing challenges in healthcare. Afrihealth’s mission is to improve access to quality healthcare and ensure patient safety through technology-enabled solutions.