Elvin Blankson is a Ghanaian based App inventor who was one of the lucky winners in the Healthcare Access Challenge (Sandoz HACk) – a global competition that aims to generate ideas from countries around the world to help solve local healthcare access challenges. Out of nearly 150 ideas from over 30 countries, Elvin’s idea ‘GoPharma’, was selected.
Sandoz senior leaders came to town to meet with Elvin and also visit some of the pharmacies who are already benefiting from his idea and learn first-hand how Sandoz HACk has made his vision a reality.
Noticing the lack of any type of pharmacy in one Ghanaian village, pharmacist Elvin realized that most rural folks around the country did not have modern solutions to common health complaints. He became determined to bring modern medical advice to remote areas in Ghana by developing a mobile application that lets pharmacists supervise rural facilities and clinics.
Based on his six years of work as a pharmacist, and driven by his own love of mobile technology, Elvin is combining pharmacy with phones to bring better healthcare to regions including Brong Ahafo, Eastern and Greater Accra as part of his pilot. As he sees it, the main problem is the lack of pharmacists outside of cities, and this means that some drugstores are staffed only by medical-counter assistants. “Nobody is willing to move to rural areas of Ghana, so patients hardly get to see a professional pharmacist or doctor.”
GoPharma is a smartphone app that aims to connect trained pharmacists in the city with untrained staff in rural pharmacies – allowing distant expertise and support to aid the distribution of medicine in rural areas.
The app concept is currently being piloted via WhatsApp in Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo and the Eastern Region providing a platform for testing before launch next year.