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Lawal, Jegede, Solademi… homeboys driving preventive healthcare through tech

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Gbenga Solademi (left), Kazeem Lawal and Babatunde Jegede, Axocheck Co-founders

Three Nigerian tech entrepreneurs, Kazeem Lawal, Babatunde Jegede and Gbenga Solademi came together to create an app designed to support preventive care in the Nigeria healthcare system. A subscription-based platform, the app provides concierge healthcare professionals that carry out in-home basic health checks on users. Understanding the pain and anxiety of constantly having to worry about the health of loved ones especially older people and busy professionals, the trio decided to find a solution. Speaking with the trio, they talk about providing hands on solution, the future of telemedicine in Nigeria and Africa as well as bridging the healthcare gap in the country.

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What is preventive medicine all about?
When we say preventive medicine, it simply means that we want to get in front of health issues before it becomes a life-threatening problem. We know how many of us can be with our health; we don’t like to take action until the problem has gotten out of hand. We like to mange situations, hoping at the back of our mind that the problem goes away. But many times, it doesn’t; it only gets worse.

When most of us have headache and a slight fever, we automatically start treating malaria, without any diagnosis from a health professional. COVID-19 has clearly shown us now that not all headache and fever is malaria and more than ever, we need to begin to practice preventive medicine to improve the quality of our lives and life expectancy. For us at Axocheck, we know when issues are caught early, the cost to remediate is cheaper and the prognosis is much more likely to be better for everyone that takes advantage of our platform.

How did you all meet and decide to start a health-based app?
Tunde and I went to secondary school together and we have always had the intention to make a change in this country’s health sector by leveraging technology. As such, we brought the best strategic mind we knew onboard in the person of Gbenga.

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With the many years of experience in various fields and industries by the three of us, we have been able to come up with this health-based solution to further contribute to the growth being experienced in the Nigerian health care sector.

As the world battles COVID-19 pandemic, the need for remote healthcare is more important than ever before, how will this app support users at this critical time?
Since the advent of COVID-19 and the need for people to stay on top of their health, we are all aware that the need for homecare is more important than ever. The place of remote care in the health care sector has become even much more important.

However, we still understand the need to have a human touch with respect to health-based issues. We have therefore come with a solution that further reduces the need to go to the hospital where there is a high risk of contracting COVID-19. Our highly trained nursing professionals understand the need for safety and would therefore be in the perfect position to carry out health checks to proactively prevent bad medical conditions.

When the pandemic is finally curtailed, healthcare is never going back to the way it was before. Do you think telemedicine will gain ample grounds in Nigeria post-COVID-19?
I think that telemedicine is here to stay, as people are becoming more tech-savvy. But it is important to note that, while technology is an enabler, there is also the place of the human touch especially with regards to the medical field. Axocheck as a hybrid e-health solution therefore provides an in person visit from a healthcare professional, which is backed up with telemedicine capabilities that will be engaged when necessary. This hybrid approach is necessary, as the market is not fully matured for a full-fledged telemedicine approach.

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In your opinion, what is the future outlook of telemedicine in healthcare?
The future is bright, we believe the hybrid approach is the key and using technology to set apps, using it to capture inputs in real-time during visits and having access to your record is the future. All of these and more are very much available and delivered by the Axocheck app today.

Tell us exactly how this app would keep tabs on users?
We believe the key is in record keeping. We have developed a centralised system where users can get access to their records and can port them to specialists, as they need them. The Axocheck app has a robust backend system that allows us gather user health information privately and safely. The system is such that it can be accessed by the user and by extension, the users’ hospital with permission from the user.

Digital health solutions like this are blossoming in Nigeria. What sets yours apart?
Five things set us apart; the entire experience is hybrid in nature as technology is backed up with great health care professionals. Second, healthcare professionals on the platform use the app to complete the entire process. There is no paper involved during the entire check process as all data is captured using the app. Everything is accomplished in real-time.

Third, certified medical doctors review notes from the field, while providing feedback and recommendations to clients plus easy access to history/record for patients can be ported as needed. Finally, we truly embody prevention being better than cure as we seek to get ahead of health problems that users may experience.

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With Nigeria’s low doctor-patient ratio, how will this improve access to quality healthcare?
We understand the many challenges as experienced in the Nigerian healthcare sector; one of the many being low doctor-patient ratio. This is why we have gone in the direction of using the many available highly skilled and trained nurses as a stopgap to catching health issues before they become huge medical problems.

When we get in front of these health issues, we would automatically reduce the need for many doctors and physically going into the hospital in the short term while we continue to grow the doctor base as a nation for the long run.

Most Nigerians struggle financially, especially at this time, would this be a more affordable option for them?
One of the most exciting things about the Axocheck option is that it’s very affordable. Also, it also will save people high costs when ailments are detected in the later stages. The app is available for use to all Nigerians. We also encourage all Nigerians in the diaspora to take advantage of this solution as a means of keeping tabs on the health of their loved ones back home. The Axocheck App is available on Apple and Google plays stores and more information can be gotten on axocheck.com.

Considering that you’re targeting the older demography in particular, would they be able to use it easily without help considering they may not be tech savvy?
We are targeting all Nigerians; the current life expectancy in Nigeria is less than 55 years for males and 57 for women. As such, we have an opportunity to get in front of the many heath issues which impacts us as a nation taking advantage of the Axocheck Health check App. The technology is so easy to use and was intentionally designed in such a way that any and everyone would be able to use it with little to no assistance.

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