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Social Entrepreneur

328 EpisodesProduced by Tony LoydWebsite

Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.


160, Yohans Wodaje Emiru, helloDoctor | Bridging Barriers to Healthcare in Ethiopia Through Simple MedTech

Dr. Yohans Wodaje Emiru is the founder of Telemed Medical Services. Their flagship service is helloDoctor.

For every doctor in Ethiopia, there are more than 30,000 patients. Compare that to less than 400 patients per doctor in the United States. Millions of Ethiopian patients are cut off from medical services due to geography and infrastructure. There are also cultural barriers to medical treatment. Some conditions can seem embarrassing to discuss face-to-face with a local doctor. Transportation costs or consultation fees may be a barrier to treatment.

Yohans Wodaje Emiru has found a way to use technology to provide access to medical professionals using a simple hand-handheld phone.

Yohans understands the challenges of medical services in Ethiopia. He graduated from medical school at Addis Ababa University. He worked in several roles, including being the Medical Director of Saint Urael Medical Services in Addis Ababa. He also worked in a remote town in a government hospital where he saw first-hand the challenges of Ethiopians to access medical services.

HelloDoctor allows people to call at any time and from anywhere in Ethiopia and get instant professional medical advice. People call, describe their symptoms and a medical professional helps them decide whether to treat their symptoms at home, to obtain an over-the-counter product or to seek further medical services at a local clinic or hospital.

For chronic illnesses such as diabetes, HIV or Tuberculosis, helloDoctor also provides Patient-Center Engagement and Tracking Services.

HelloDoctor has received over 80,000 calls. They have directly impacted over 50,000 individuals. Between 50% to 65% of the medical conditions are sufficiently handled through the phone calls. The remaining patients have been helped through direct referrals. They also help patients to save money. They calculate that for every phone call received, they save their patients $3 in healthcare expenses.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Yohans Wodaje Emiru

“These barriers can be bridged with the kind of service we are building.”

“People launching new services is not something people are used to here.”

“You have to pull all the strings you can to keep the music going.”

“There are challenges you face every day. But if you believe in what you’re doing, it just passes.”

“We monitor everything we’re doing.”

“The most interesting thing is the money that people are able to save.”

“You have to keep measuring. You have to keep talking to your clients.”

“The first thing you start out with is, unless you’re very lucky, rarely the right solution.”

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

More Stories of Sustainable Development Goal 3, Good Health and Well-Being

In 2017, we’re emphasizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In March, we are focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 3, Good Health and Well-Being. You can read more about Sustainable Development Goal 1 here, Sustainable Development Goal 2 here, or learn about all of the Sustainable Development Goals here.

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