Tell us a few words about the founders and how the idea came :

Felix Richard is the founder and Chief executive officer at AFYA MED where he is responsible for the company’s corporate strategy, partnerships, expansions, chief go-to-market and commercialization of the product. He holds a bachelor of Medicine from Weill Bugando school of medicine. Previously, Felix has been leading a technical implementation team on a project for better immunization data initiative conducted by PATH Tanzania and aimed at improving immunization data across Africa health facilities.

In 2016, he led transformation strategy from concept to delivery of mobile health insurances to rural and informal population in Tanzania, where he played an instrumental role in leading the company’s transformation from a start up growth and market dominance in East Africa as one of the most desirable innovative investment line. The idea to Start a Mobile health insurance for the informal population came after he lost his friend who used to work in the informal sector and lack treatment when he was suffering from Pneumonia due to high costs of treatments.

Felix has been honored numerous national and international Recognition as a transformational entrepreneur leader which includes; The Future Africa Award, Nelson Mandela Social Innovation Award and Tanzania young professional award for social impact.

Your products and services :

AFYA MED is a mobile micro-health insurance product specifically targeting the poor population and the informal sector population, that offers a platform to the user to inquire about the product, client registration, make payments, servicing, and claim payments through the mobile phone. All the operations from customer registration to premium payments are done electronically, thus not only enhancing customer experience but drastically reducing costs in the whole chain.

Thus, AFYA MED is completely a paperless product from registration to health service  access which enables the user to not have to require one to one interaction with the insurer at any point. AFYA MED enables the user to complete entire process from sitting at home, work or any location. To get medical services, the AFYA MED policy holder only has to carry any formal identification card which has his/her names and photograph on it and has his AFYA MED number provided by SMS during registration.  At our listed hospitals, they will verify the policy holders identification number against registered AFYA MED profile, provide needed services and submit the respective bill (Inpatient/Outpatient) from the mobile device.

We also tackle the key cost drivers of insurance of anti-selection and low penetration by engaging large mobile network operators on a consumer mobilization activity to pre-generate demand and registering of about 16,500 individuals.  The product can be accessed by all types of mobile handsets; both feature phones and smart phones.

As part of the project, AFYA MED also provide all registered clients and health workers with life saving  health information that is medically accurate, easy to understand and empowering.

Your success factors

AFYA MED successfully registered over 16,500 low income members.  We have already enabled over 250 critical life saving interactions and over 3000 urgent medical consultations by mobile phones.

Other indications of success would be improved health and social-economic outcomes in our beneficiary population. These outcomes are being monitored closely over time and will likely take 2-5 years to demonstrate a substantial effect. In the interim, surrogate markers such as decreased incidence of infectious diseases are also noted.

Other outcomes include the metric of income protected per beneficiary that would otherwise have been used to fund health care in the absence of AFYA MED plan.

PROJECT/BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

i) Bring access to affordable health care services to the poor informal sector and break the health inequality classes in the society between the formal and informal sector on where to access health services.

ii) Poverty Alleviation- By Reducing the financial impact of medical expenses, increasing productivity via better health.

iii) Financial Inclusion- By enabling mobile phone users to make payments at any locations and access health services, the poor informal sector are involved and have freedom to choose which hospital  to have treatments.

iv) Mitigation of Child labor/Abuse- through a healthy generation, children will be able to stay in school healthy and concentrate on their studies, enhancing future earning potentials and escape from street abuse.

Your factors differentiating and disruptive compared to the existing

Our  micro health insurance is the only product in Tanzania that integrates health insurance and mobile financial services such as micro-health payments and thus reducing the cost of insurance to over 45% and provide client the freedom to choose where they wish to seek treatment.

The non-communicable diseases that we are addressing are excluded on most insurance companies or  severely limited.

Also our health insurance is supported by a healthy life style campaign through Mobile SMS to all of our clients registered with the product.

Your business model (how do you make money?)

 The revenue stream for the innovation are based upon either a per phone or per user license. Soft ware pricing models such as subscription fees versus license  user models are considered and depend upon the mobile company preference. 3% of subscriber payments  each time he/she refills the minutes on the mobile phone are charged by the Company.

In the case that a licensed user model is used, residual income is expected when first aid protocols change. The protocols change 3-5 years.

On the long term on going costs include technical support, software maintenance, translation or debugging. Earned income are expected to be exponentially higher than these  operating  costs due to the size of the market and expected penetration of the innovation. Initial analysis shoes operating costs would be equal or less than 35% of earned income or revenue.

A few words about your competitors

Our potential competitors are large health insurance companies which includes the NSSF health Insurance fund, AAR and the NHIF. However our insurance is the only product that integrates health insurance and mobile financial services such as micro-health payments and thus reducing the cost of insurance to over 45% and provide client the freedom to choose where they wish to seek treatment.

The non-communicable diseases that we are addressing are excluded on most insurance companies or severely limited.  Also our health insurance is supported by a healthy life style campaign through Mobile SMS to all of our clients registered with the product. 

About the author

Felix Richard

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1 Comment

  • Very impressive Richard. I am curious on how much premiums these clients are charged. Is it necessary that one has to be online to access the service since it has to be updated in the system. I am very interested in more technicalities of the product. I am Yvonne Kiogora from Kenya.

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