Telemed Medical Services is an Ethiopian startup responsible for the country’s popular mobile health and medical consultancy service, Hello Doctor, and has recently announced it’s raised funds from US-based VC group The Africa Group (TAG). The Ethiopian engineering consultancy that, among other things, specialises in mobile health consulting is giving up a 25% stake of Telemed and plans to further address a crucial demand for health-related service delivery.
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Together with BelCash Technology, Telemed released its flagship product, Hello Doctor, in 2012. It claims to have been the first and only service in Ethiopia where patients can call a short code number to access professional health services such as phone consultations, ambulance dispatch and homecare service.
With the recent equity provided by TAG and a grant from a USAID and DFID-backed development fund, the cash injection will be used to increase service capacity across Ethiopia, build a remote patient monitoring system, and facilitate a major marketing campaign.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Yohans Wodaje, the founder of Telemed, stated, “Venture capital is a crucial source of financing for startup business like ours, having the potential of catapulting them to reach greater markets; our partnership with TAG is the perfect match, enabling us access to the appropriate amount of capital with the right kind of technical support.”
According to mobile operator association GSMA, there are almost 250 mHealth services currently in operation across Sub-Saharan Africa, supporting patients who may not have access to local healthcare services.
In Ethiopia alone, the press release notes, the doctor-to-patient ratio is 1 to 30 000 while 80% of the population lives over 5 kilometers from the nearest health center. Elias Schulze, Managing Partner of The Africa Group, says that he hopes this move will help scale the two parties’ initiatives:
“The Africa Group is excited and honored to partner with Dr Yohans on this brilliant model of private-sector led healthcare delivery. We view this engagement as just the beginning of our journey together and look forward to transforming and deepening our ability to touch greater swaths of the public both in Ethiopia and beyond. The team, led by Special Operations Associate, Tim Burkly, worked tirelessly with Dr Yohans’ team to complete this unique transaction and we are positioned well to scale together.”
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