Last month saw North Star Alliance launch the Mesedi.org mobile app, developed in partnership with the Foundation for Professional Development and mapIT*. Mesedi (short for medical services directory) is an application running within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region that helps people on the move find their nearest healthcare facility through an integrated GPS function, based on their location and health needs. Mesedi currently has a directory of healthcare providers in South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi and Swaziland.
The Mesedi app uses a simple interface that breaks down health services into categories including HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, primary healthcare, pharmacies, hospitals, and mental healthcare services. This wide-ranging initiative seeks to create an accessible directory of healthcare services in the SADC region.
Mesedi works in a similar way to Google Maps – it detects the user’s location using their phone’s built-in GPS and provides directions to the closest provider of the healthcare service they select.
Because North Star targets people on the move across Africa, the need arose for us to develop an effective way to link our referral network of healthcare facilities. Initially designed to be used at our Blue Box clinics to ensure that truck drivers passing through were connected with the healthcare they needed, Mesedi has been made available as a free service available across the SADC region.
“The real beauty of [Mesedi] is that, collectively, it is creating a more comprehensive access to health and wellness services. ” – Paul Matthew
Paul Matthew, the Regional Director for Southern Africa, notes that the Mesedi app “…shows the world how seriously we take providing healthcare to mobile populations.” He adds that “The real beauty of [Mesedi] is that, collectively, it is creating a more comprehensive access to health and wellness services. More providers typically mean better results and lower costs to North Star’s target group. Using Mesedi means lowering costs by increasing preventative care, reducing time to access, and reducing fuel consumption by eliminating unnecessary trips to a medical practice. All this helps our clients. This app and the North Star Alliance Blue Box clinics—and others like them—are truly revolutionising access to healthcare for mobile populations.”
Mesedi is the first cross-border initiative of its kind and by far the most well-supported database in comparison to any other online directory in the region.
*mapIT has since changed its name to TomTom South Africa