Digital healthcare provider Unu Health is revolutionising the South African healthcare landscape with the launch of its As-You-Go private healthcare app, designed to make quality healthcare accessible and affordable for everyone.
The retail offering, supported by a partnership with Intercare (a healthcare group), provides Unu Health app users access to their online healthcare services and national network of in-person doctor consultations.

This partnership ensures they receive top-tier clinical services, queue-free consultations, transparent pricing, and instant access to medical professionals, enabling individuals to prioritise their health.

Amidst a national landscape where many face challenges in accessing healthcare due to cost and convenience, Unu Health’s new digital platform emerges as a timely solution, offering services from as low as R179.

“By harnessing the power of digital technology, Unu Health aims to bridge the significant gaps in healthcare accessibility, delivering a patient-centric experience that empowers users to prioritise their health and wellbeing on their own terms,” says Tania Joffe, chief executive officer of Unu Health.

This offering is an app that can be downloaded from various app stores using a smartphone.

“The launch of the As-You-Go offering extends access to the mass market, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their financial constraints or busy schedules, can prioritise their health and wellbeing,” says Joffe.

Strategic partnership with Intercare

“Having spoken to thousands of users and testers in the past two years, Unu Health understands the needs and gaps, and has designed an app to help keep healthcare simple, convenient and affordable,” adds Joffe.

The launch of the retail offering significantly enhances the healthcare landscape in a country grappling with its status as the world's unhealthiest country.

This was highlighted five years ago in the 2019 Indigo Wellness Index (which focuses on blood pressure, blood glucose, obesity, depression, happiness, alcohol use, tobacco use, exercise, healthy life expectancy, and government spending on healthcare).

“Our collaboration with Intercare aligns perfectly with our mission to provide easy access to healthcare through digital platforms.”

Hendri Hanekom, managing Director at Intercare, remarked, “As a healthcare group committed to enhancing access to affordable, quality, integrated healthcare, our extensive network of medical facilities and integrated online healthcare services complements Unu Health's innovative digital platform, offering patients comprehensive access to high-quality clinical services whenever they need it, especially lifestyle-related diseases."

Tackling NCDs head-on

Unu Health tackles the pressing issue of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) head on. NCDs pose a significant threat to the nation’s health.

To this end, the app’s innovative features include the ability to do a free monthly health check by measuring blood pressure, pulse, and blood oxygen levels, which is geared towards early detection of conditions like hypertension and cardiovascular disease, addressing key factors contributing to the country’s health crisis.

Studies have shown that in South Africa, 215 people die of a stroke or heart attack daily. Eighty percent of these deaths are premature and preventable.

Key contributing factors include elevated blood pressure or hypertension and obesity. Three in every four women are obese in South Africa, with a body mass index (BMI) above 30, and one in three men.

“The Unu Health app calculates BMI, providing users with crucial insight to potential health risks,” explained Joffe.

A further contributing factor is elevated fasting glucose, experienced by one in three adults in South Africa.

Roughly 13% of the country’s population suffers from diabetes, which is the number one cause of death among women. More than half are not aware of this, as they have been asymptomatic for the first decade or so.

Early detection and access to information that helps people adopt healthier habits is key to turning the tide on non-communicable or lifestyle-associated diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Phathokuhle Zondi, clinical lead at Unu Health, highlighted the profound implications of these statistics, stating the importance of confronting these challenges head-on and embracing innovative approaches to healthcare delivery that prioritise accessibility, affordability, and empowerment.

“Using the Unu Health app, enables individuals to do a 50-second face scan that measures their vitals and get instant access to healthcare professionals without the hassle of waiting. This innovative feature not only saves time but also empowers users to prioritise their health conveniently and affordably”, says Zondi.

Embracing the future world of healthcare

By leveraging data and technology, the platform drives meaningful change in the fight against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other non-communicable diseases. Personalised health monitoring, insightful analytics, and targeted interventions empower individuals to lead healthier, happier lives.

“We designed the As-You-Go model to demonstrate that access to quality healthcare is as convenient as shopping for essentials online. The platform's inclusive healthcare solutions cater to diverse needs, ensuring accessibility and affordability for everyone's journey toward a healthier, happier life,” said Joffe.

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