In the Democratic Republic of Congo, access to quality healthcare is expensive and tedious. But Bienvenue Zigabe has managed to create an application to facilitate quicker access to medical services.
"Wiiqare" helps patients pay for treatment and drugs using their savings or on credit.
"Our goal is for everyone to have access to health care. When you feel sick and you have to stay at home, you can go directly to a health service for appropriate care because this is what often happens, because in our community when someone is sick and they don't have money, they are forced to stay at home, said Zagabe, the Wiiqare inventor.
The app is getting good reviews in Goma, a city in eastern Congo where health infrastructure remains poor.
"When I left home I didn't have the means and I came to use the Wiiqare application which made it easier for me to benefit from care and to be examined quickly. I am saving little by little in the card and this helps me to be treated," said Odile Neema, a Goma resident who was visiting Kyeshero hospital.
Patients can treat anything from malaria to the most complex ailments without worry. They can then do mobile payments or ask for credit. It is a way to revolutionize access to care in a region where it is expensive and virtually non-existent.
"In our system of care, we see that there are really difficulties for the access to care for the population," Dr. Mvuama Guylain, a gynecologist at Kyeshero Hospital.
Users can also keep savings meant for health care on the app, maintaining a piggy bank of sorts to cater for health emergencies.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, as in other African countries, access to health care is often delayed by lack of money, a situation that is at the root of several cases of death or serious injury in this country.