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Revolutionizing Healthcare: A Conversation with Hope Achiro, Co-founder of RocketHealth Africa

Following the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) meeting held in Ghana in October 2023, Knowledge SUCCESS conducted interviews with representatives from diverse implementing organizations in the Family Planning/Sexual Reproductive Health (FP/SRH) sector. This blog series captures their perspectives on the crucial role of private sector engagement in driving access, inclusivity, and innovation within FP/SRH.

As we engage with professionals shaping FP/SRH initiatives, join us in unraveling the transformative power of private sector collaboration—moving beyond traditional financial contributions. This series aims to provide insights, experiences, and aspirations, shedding light on the untapped potential in private sector partnerships for achieving universal access to essential services in FP/SRH. This is the first article of a five-part series, you may view the subsequent article in this series here

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, individuals like Hope Fortunate Achiro are at the forefront, challenging the status quo. A pharmacist with over 14 years of experience in the government sector, Achiro is now the co-founder of Rocket Health Africa, a platform dedicated to transforming healthcare in the developing world. This article delves into her journey, the inspiration behind RocketHealth, and the platform’s impact on healthcare accessibility.

From Pharmacist to Innovator

Hope’s background as a pharmacist equipped her with a unique perspective on the challenges within the healthcare system. With a desire to create meaningful change, she, along with four other founders, embarked on a mission to address the pressing issues that the conventional healthcare system struggled to solve.

We realized that the problems in healthcare, especially in the developing world, could not be solved in the usual way – it would simply take too long with the negative trajectory and adverse impact building. We knew we needed to do something different to leapfrog the outcomes that we wanted.”

Bridging Gaps in Healthcare

The genesis of RocketHealth lay in the recognition that the conventional approach to healthcare was inadequate. The disparities in knowledge, access, and availability of supplies were glaring issues. The team recognized the urgency of the matter, understanding that innovative solutions were required to address these challenges.

“Access to healthcare was so poor and convenience was a dream we couldn’t even allow ourselves. So, because of that, we started brainstorming among ourselves on how we could do something different.”

Beyond Doctor Consultations

RocketHealth’s evolution from a platform primarily focused on doctor consultations to one encompassing laboratory services and pharmacy offerings was a gradual and strategic process. Achiro explains the platform’s approach, emphasizing the significance of making healthcare more accessible, especially in remote areas.

From 2013 when we started operations as the first telemedicine company in the region, the behavioral change required for adoption of telemedicine was very slow but peaked during the Covid pandemic.

“When COVID came along, it found us ready. We were the only health service provider set up for the disruption of limited mobility caused by the pandemic. After the patients were correctly diagnosed and correctly treated, they are like, hey, it works. Nothing sells a service more than that.”

Reproductive Health and Privacy

Hope sheds light on the impact RocketHealth has had on reproductive health, breaking down barriers related to privacy and discreteness. The platform’s online approach has empowered individuals, particularly the youth, to seek guidance on sensitive issues without fear of judgment.

“People always had reservations and were shy about going physically to health outlets and asking for reproductive health products like condoms. Right now, they go to an online platform and can privately order. And so there’s that much desired privacy and discreteness.”

The Role of the Private Sector in Healthcare

Traditionally viewed with suspicion, the private sector is now recognized as a crucial partner in driving positive change. Hope emphasizes that the private sector is also committed to service delivery and not just about their financial gain.

“When Private sector players with integrity are included as key partners in health service delivery, we shall achieve mutual goals in a much shorter time. I’m happy that the private sector is increasingly not seen as suspicious.”

Founders of RocketHealth Africa posing for a photo.

Future Horizons for RocketHealth

As RocketHealth continues to make strides in healthcare accessibility, Achiro envisions a future where the platform expands beyond national borders. Collaboration is key in the growth plans, and she emphasizes the importance of working with other entities in the health sector to create a unified ecosystem that benefits the end user.

Hope Fortunate Achiro’s journey from pharmacist in the public sector to co-founder of Rocket Health Africa encapsulates the spirit of innovation and resilience needed to revolutionize healthcare. With a commitment to collaboration, data-driven decision-making, and a focus on the end user, RocketHealth is poised to shape the future of healthcare not just in Africa but potentially beyond. As we witness this transformative journey, one can’t help but feel hopeful about the positive changes on the horizon.

To learn more about RocketHealth and its mission to transform healthcare, visit their website.

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Irene Alenga

Knowledge Management and Community Engagement Lead, Amref Health Africa

Irene is an established social economist with over 13 years’ experience in research, policy analysis, knowledge management, and partnership engagement. As a researcher, she has been involved in the coordination and implementation of over 20 social economic research projects in various disciplines within the Eastern African Region. In her work as a Knowledge Management Consultant, Irene has been involved in health-related studies through work with public health and technology-focused institutions in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi where she has successfully teased out impact stories and increased visibility of project interventions. Her expertise in developing and supporting management processes, lessons learned, and best practices is exemplified in the three-year organizational change management and project closure process of the USAID| DELIVER and Supply Chain Management Systems (SCMS) 10-year project in Tanzania. In the emerging practice of Human Centered Design, Irene has successfully facilitated a positive end to end product experience through conducting user experience studies while implementing the USAID| DREAMS Project amongst adolescent girls and young women (AGYWs) in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Irene is well-versed in resource mobilization and donor management, especially with USAID, DFID, and EU.

Collins Otieno

East Africa FP/RH Technical Officer

Meet Collins, a versatile development practitioner with a wealth of experience and expertise in family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) communication, program and grant management, capacity strengthening and technical assistance, social and behavior change, information management, and media/communication outreach. Collins has dedicated his career to working with local, national, and international development NGOs to implement successful FP/RH interventions in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, & Ethiopia) and West Africa (Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Nigeria). His work has focused on youth development, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH), community engagement, media campaigns, advocacy communications, social norms, and civic engagement. Previously, Collins worked with Planned Parenthood Global, where he provided FP/RH technical assistance and support to Africa Region country programs. He contributed to the FP2030 Initiative’s High Impact Practices (HIP) program in developing the FP HIP briefs. He also worked with The Youth Agenda and I Choose Life-Africa, where he led various youth campaigns and FP/RH initiatives. In addition to his professional endeavors, Collins is passionate about exploring how digital communication and engagement are shaping and moving FP/RH development in Africa and around the world. He loves the outdoors and is an avid camper and hiker. Collins is also a social media enthusiast and can be found on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and sometimes Twitter.