In the midst of profound challenges within Africa’s healthcare system, one individual has taken it upon himself to drive transformative change. Mmekidmfon Umanah, a Nigerian-born innovator now based in the UK, is leading a mission to bolster primary healthcare in West Africa through his visionary project, Aimcare Health Limited.
Mmekidmfon’s journey is a testament to his commitment to bettering healthcare access in the region. Armed with an MSc in International Development from the University of Birmingham and an upcoming PhD in Business and Management from King’s College London, he is not only an academic but also an advocate for healthcare reform. Moreover, he serves as the Executive Director of WaterEase Organization, a non-profit entity dedicated to improving access to clean water in underserved Nigerian communities.
Aimcare’s Inception: A Mission Driven by Tragedy
The birth of Aimcare Health Limited can be traced back to a deeply personal tragedy in Mmekidmfon’s life. In 2013, he tragically lost his mother due to the shortcomings of Africa’s healthcare system. This heart-wrenching experience exposed the flaws in the system, highlighting that for 80% of Africans, their local pharmacies and patent medicine stores serve as the frontlines of their healthcare. Unfortunately, these establishments often suffer from stockouts of vital medicines, losses due to expired inventory, and the presence of substandard and counterfeit drugs and medical supplies.
In light of these systemic issues, Mmekidmfon felt compelled to act. He realized that immunizations, contraceptives, essential medical devices, diagnostics, and even chronic care were often inaccessible, too expensive, or simply unavailable in local clinics and pharmacies. Consequently, patients, healthcare providers, and entire communities bore the brunt of these deficiencies.
Determined to make a difference, Mmekidmfon founded Aimcare Health Limited with a vision to address these healthcare challenges, starting with improving inventory access and financing and expanding to infrastructure development.
The Mission of Aimcare Health Limited
Aimcare Health Limited’s primary mission is to strengthen the primary healthcare system in West Africa. To achieve this, the company focuses on providing pharmacies, primary healthcare centers, patent medicine stores, and hospitals with innovative, user-friendly, and affordable global healthcare products. Their approach involves connecting global health startups with unique opportunities in the African healthcare ecosystem.
Rather than following conventional routes, Aimcare seeks out non-cliché opportunities within the healthcare sector. These include introducing disruptive technologies and marketing innovative consumer products and wearables. Through strategic partnerships, Aimcare has established connections with over 1,000 pharmacies, 200 patent medicine stores, and 50 clinics.
Impactful Collaborations: Dot Glasses
One of Aimcare’s standout collaborations is with Dot Glasses, a Czech-based vision care company. Dot Glasses has developed a revolutionary vision testing and prescription lens provision system that enables on-the-spot diagnosis and customized prescription lenses in under four minutes, all for just $4. This innovation is a game-changer in making quality vision care affordable and accessible.
Since partnering with Dot Glasses, Aimcare has sold approximately 6,500 pairs of these groundbreaking glasses, partnered with governments and non-commercial organizations to distribute hundreds for free, and conducted eye tests for over 1,000 people. Collaborations with both government bodies and private companies have allowed Aimcare to distribute an impressive 7,000 pairs of Dot Glasses since March this year.
Challenges and Expansion
Aimcare’s journey has not been without challenges. Like many businesses in Nigeria, they grapple with fluctuating exchange rates, which impact product pricing and affordability. Nevertheless, Aimcare remains unwavering in its mission to make healthcare more accessible and affordable.
As for expansion, Aimcare already has a presence in several regions, including Kebbi, Zaria, Abuja, and Lagos. While they have made significant strides in the northern part of Nigeria, the majority of their commercial partnerships are centered in Lagos. They continue to explore opportunities to expand their impact across the country.
The Future of Aimcare
In the short term, Aimcare aims to disrupt the industry by assisting primary healthcare facilities in avoiding stockouts and ensuring uninterrupted access to essential medicines and medical products. They plan to achieve this by offering innovative financing and inventory management solutions to hospitals, pharmacies, and patients. Looking further ahead, their long-term goal is to facilitate healthcare infrastructure investment across the African continent.
Conclusion: A Journey of Commitment and Impact
Mmekidmfon Umanah’s journey, marked by personal tragedy and a deep commitment to change, exemplifies the power of individuals to make a difference in their communities. Through Aimcare Health Limited, he is actively bridging healthcare gaps in Africa, ensuring that essential healthcare products and services are accessible to all, regardless of their location or economic status. As Aimcare continues to grow and expand its impact, the future of healthcare in West Africa looks brighter, thanks to individuals like Mmekidmfon who dare to make a change.