The South African public healthcare system is in shambles. We often hear of cases of patients being ill-treated by nurses in hospitals and in other cases there is a shortage of supply of medicine. The private health care system, on the other hand, is too expensive for the majority of South Africans, particularly those who are in the lower LSM. Medical aid is costly or sometimes the medical savings run out quickly. Saving money for medical purposes is also a serious challenge.
In the midst of all of this, Entrepreneur Tamsanqa Ngalo thought to himself that this cannot continue to be the status quo. There’s got to be an alternative. He then sought to find a way to democratise the private healthcare and make it accessible to the majority of South Africans. This led to the birth of the Oyi Medical card.
I caught up with Tamsanqa who is based at Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct to tell me more about Oyi Medical Card.
What is Oyi Medical Card and the inspiration behind it?
The Oyi Medical Card is essentially a payment card in the form of a savings or credit facility and is restricted by our technology to only allow payment healthcare providers across South Africa. In this respect, the main challenge that our people face is the shortage of cash to carry the expenses associated with day to day medical events which tend to happen at the odd time of the month. We then allow our clients to put away any little bit that they can afford into the card as a savings towards a rainy day.
I came up with the idea when I still working in the UK. My wife fell sick and we were on the NHS which is equivalent to the NHI that the South African government is proposing. I was impressed by how efficient and effective that healthcare system was and thought about our people in South Africa who tend to struggle even for the simplest of medical treatment and wished for all South Africans to have access to quality healthcare.
Who is the target customer for Oyi Medical Card?
Primarily, Oyi Medical Card is targeted at households with little or no reach to a medical-aid. However, we have seen people on a comprehensive medical-aid plan using our card to support their extended family members, because unlike a typical medical-aid, our card can be used to pay for any member of the family at no additional cost.
What has been some of the highlights for Oyi Medical?
Oyi Medical Card has been well received in the market. Since its inception, we have processed over R1 million worth of transactions. 80% of these transactions were self-medication. This means that our client, who would have typically taken a day off from work to queue for hours at a public clinic, has bought medication at a local pharmacy instead of missing work or school. Employers particularly love us because now there’s a practical solution to equalise the workplace while also keeping people more productive and their families healthy.
How does the Oyi Medical Card Work?
The card works just like any bank card but can only be used to pay at healthcare providers of one’s choice. These are pharmacies, medical centres, specialists, blood tests and many more. It is a MasterCard, however, you cannot use is everywhere. Oyi Medical Card is technologically ringfenced to only allow payments at healthcare providers. It can also be used by an entire household and to supplement medical aid when it is exhausted.
Where can people get the Oyi Medical Card from?
People can visit our website at www.oyi.co.za and apply directly on the website or contact us via WhatsApp on 076 084 6513. We also distribute the card via their respective HR departments for those employers we already signed up.