Young people in Botswana develop app to make doctors’ consultation easy

Young professionals in Botswana have developed an app to make it easier for patients to reach doctors and access other health facilities online.

One of the group members, Loatile Nkala told the BBC there was the need to create the app to reduce the stress of seeing a doctor physically.

She said that “my grandfather who is diabetic couldn’t come to Gaborone [the capital] to access a doctor so we ended up trying to courier the medicine and that was very difficult to do.”

She acknowledged that it was difficult to access the health system even before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the medical facilities in Botswana are so congested to the point where our elderly, those living with disabilities, and the general public actually have to wake around 5 am just to queue for a doctor only to be seen by the doctor after lunch or in the late afternoon.”

“You actually had to go queue up for more than five hours to get a doctor’s appointment, then you have to queue again to see the doctor, then you have to queue again to get your medication,” she added.

Seeing a problem that needed to be solved, Nkala and her friends decided to create the Doctors E-Consult app.

She explained that the Doctors E-Consult app “will act as a place where doctors and patients can actually consult one another but virtually. So where ever you are in Botswana you will be able to access your doctor.”

“We pretty much have all the types of doctors that people usually consult here in Botswana under one roof and we also have pharmaceutical services right on our mobile application.”

She added that they are working to partner with the country’s health ministry to have access points at the rural clinics that are understaffed.

The patients would therefore be helped by clinical officers in the rural clinics to access doctors based in Gaborone.

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