The clinic, Zoie Health, provides virtual consultations with medical providers, group consultations and community forums, where users can interact with each other or get advice from health experts.
Zoie Health founders Thato Schermer and Dr. Nonhlanhla Sitole say the platform was inspired by personal experiences and noticing the growing need for digital healthcare that is targeted at women.
“We realized that although there is a lot of innovation in the medical space, there was no one focusing on one key customer – women,” Schermer said.
South Africa has experienced a rapid shift towards digital healthcare in the last 15 months, prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions, which limited in-person interactions in hospitals and clinics.
This digitization has helped in dispensing medication, patient intake, record sharing, patient tracking and treatment.
Explaining the rationale behind Zoie Health, Schermer said: “The idea was to make everything accessible online, from virtual consults to requesting medication. Our goal is to make the entire process seamless, from finding a provider to getting your meds delivered to your home. By making everything tech-based, we are able to simplify, integrate and streamline access to healthcare services.”
To provide expert assistance and informative content, the duo partnered with a team of independent specialists, from doulas to lactation consultants.
“Our goal is to make the entire process seamless, from finding a provider to getting your meds delivered to your home. By making everything tech-based, we are able to simplify, integrate and streamline access to healthcare services”Thato Schermer – Co-founder, Zoie
The advantage of this model, Sitole says, is that it empowers the service providers as well, giving them a platform to provide quicker and better service to clients as they increasingly seek online solutions.
“Users can go online to get support around fertility issues; ask for advice about breastfeeding; organize a baby wellness check in the comfort of their own home; ask other mothers how they are dealing with specific challenges; find out about post-pregnancy fitness. Just as you would visit a clinic for an entire range of health issues, so Zoie functions as a one-stop service for almost every aspect of women’s health and wellness.”
Schermer said Zoie Health is a safe space for women, where they can access all the care they need, in a manner that is both affordable and accessible.
“We want women to know that their health issues are important because we shouldn’t have to whisper about what we’re going through. Women are the backbone of the economy, so it shouldn’t be a struggle to find affordable, integrated health and wellness services delivered with care.”