There’s a shortage of health care professionals in Kenya. While the World Health Organization recommends a ratio of 44.5 nurses, physicians and doctors for every 10,000 people, Kenya has just 13.8 per 10,000 people, according to a 2015 survey prepared by the Ministry of Health. For doctors, the ratio is 1.5 for every 10,000 people.
“When you look at the health care system in Kenya and Africa, it’s broken,” Medbit co-founder Denis Mugambi told TechCrunch. Citing a low doctor-to-patient ratio, Mugambi went on to say that “it’s really hard for everyone in the country to access these doctors.”
That’s where Medbit comes in. Although Medbit does not directly address the shortage of doctors in Kenya, it aims to at least make it easier for people to find the ones that are there. Medbit connects patients with health care specialists through a mobile app. It offers doctor discovery, scheduling, communication and payments. The startup is still quite young, having only been around for just over two months, but it already has 150 doctors on board. By the end of the year, the goal is to increase that to 1,500 doctors.
“You could say that Medbit is a Zocdoc for Africa only that we are more institution based,” Mugambi said.
Medbit works by selling its service to hospitals and institutions, but it does accommodate doctors with their own practices. And unlike Zocdoc, which charges doctors $300 a month to be listed on the platform, Medbit does not charge a subscription. Instead, for every transaction facilitated via Medbit, hospitals pay a 10 percent commission to Medbit.
Medbit currently has 8,000 active patients on its platform. The goal is to get to 1 million active users within the next 12 months and eventually expand to serve all of Africa.