Kenyan health tech startup Zuri Health on Friday launched a WhatsApp chatbot for its users in Kenya.
Zuri Health is a virtual hospital providing quality affordable and accessible healthcare services to patients across Sub-saharan Africa via mobile app, chatbot website and SMS service.
Named Vera, Zuri said the new chatbot will help to connect patients to healthcare services in Kenya.
“We understand that to democratize access to healthcare, various channels have to be created. Apart from our website, mobile app and SMS service, we saw a need to add Vera for audiences that prefer WhatsApp as a means of communication, even for healthcare services.” Zuri Health Founder Ikechukwu Anoke said.
The chatbot will work 24/7 to provide quick responses and services in real-time to patients and connect them to healthcare services and products. Users will be able to book lab and diagnostic tests, buy medication and schedule doctor appointments using the Zuri Health WhatsApp Chatbot.
Vera can handle multiple questions simultaneously and can currently respond in three available languages: English, Swahili, and French.
Notably, there is limited access to healthcare services in Sub-Saharan African countries due to poverty, low education, inadequate healthcare systems, and a shortage of healthcare professionals.
Health firms and governments are banking on high penetration of the Internet, increased usage of smartphones and the popularity of messaging platforms like WhatsApp to promote telehealth. According to GlobalWebIndex, 97 per cent of all internet users are using WhatsApp as of 2021.
A report by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) shows that about 59 million mobile phone devices were connected to mobile networks in the country for the quarter ending September 2021.
Out of the number,33 million were feature phones while 26 million were smartphones, putting the penetration levels at 67.9 per cent and 53.4 per cent respectively.