Providing a 97% accurate symptom check to people with no healthcare access
Digi-Dibia is driving a game-changing shift in how people access healthcare in Nigeria. The company operates in a market where 90% of the population doesn't have access to medical insurance and there is a massive physician shortage. Digi-Dibia has managed to build a scalable solution that integrates a network of small, community-based service points, trained medical professionals, and a medical AI-driven platform.
Virtual health platform
Digi-Dibia is a company with a lofty goal — to make healthcare services accessible and affordable for everyone. Their efforts are highly focused on helping healthcare seekers in Africa, who, by and large, lack access to basic healthcare services, are uninsured, and face high out-of-pocket costs. Although Digi-Dibia’s mission started in Nigeria, their ultimate plan is to scale up their solution to support communities all throughout Africa.
Key challenges for Digi-Dibia
- National healthcare infrastructure is fragmented and overwhelmed
- 216 million citizens living in Nigeria, with low access to healthcare
- Digital-only solutions are complicated and still not accessible to the majority of the population
Lack of trained personnel
- 2,500 patients per one physician (WHO’s recommendation is 1,000:1)
- High reliance on unregistered community chemist and medicine seller shops, who are often staffed by untrained personnel that lack the ability to provide an effective diagnosis
- Low trust and high costs result in people never seeing a doctor
- High out-of-pocket costs due to limited health insurance adoption leads to people seeking alternative options for care
- Cost of a medical assessment is ＄0.75, while daily cost of living is $2
The solution: an AI-driven tool for community agents
Digi-Dibia works with the community agents that go out and support people. They wanted to equip them with a tool for preliminary health assessment. They did this with Infermedica API, which provides access to an extensive database of medical content, an AI-based Inference Engine, and — most importantly — a tool that's easy to understand and use, even by non-medical users.
Digi-Dibia implemented Infermedica API as a symptom checker that any of their agents could use, regardless of whether they were chemist sales staff, community health ambassadors, or nurses working either at local pharmacy points or on foot.
Support for Digi-Dibia agents
- Collecting initial symptoms
- Navigating the medical interview
- Seeing the most probable conditions
- Streamlining triaging process
- Passing organized information to clinics
Images are samples, not actual solution photos
The outcomes: connecting patients with medical care
The pilot program was conducted over six months in the city of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. During the pilot, Digi-Dibia assessed over 2,300 patients in the community. The Infermedica-based symptom checker worked as a bridge between patients seeking help, non-medical agents, nurses, and professional medical care centers.
accuracy of the symptom checker confirmed by Digi-Dibia
duration of the pilot program in Ibadan
number of engaged patients
Collecting key insights about population needs
The symptom checker has also proven to be an excellent tool for spotting important health patterns and risks among local patients.
Collected learnings could impact further communication, preventative campaigns, and earlier detection of high-risk conditions such as emerging pandemics within communities. The findings could also contribute to a better understanding of what exactly the community needs as it relates to drugs and medical services and even optimizing infrastructure for each community.
The Pilot Program proved to Digi-Dibia that Infermedica’s tools can help improve community health throughout Africa. Digi-Dibia’s business model is currently built around supporting sponsors. With the AI-driven symptom checking tool, agents could offer medical support without turning to high-cost medical services, ultimately optimizing access to healthcare services.
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