Mother-daughter team, Dr Maggie Mojapelo and Dr Malebo Mojapelo-Mokotedi, are active stewards of digital health solutions. They’re on a quest to use new, innovative technologies to improve their patients’ healthcare experience and outcomes.

Dr Maggie Mojapelo is a ‘health technopreneur’, a title she has earned after many years of working towards improving healthcare with digital tools. Dr Mojapelo’s passion inspired her daughter, Dr Malebo Mojapelo-Mokotedi, to qualify as a doctor, and she has since joined her mother in innovating digital healthcare for all South Africans.

Dr Mojapelo has worked in public and private healthcare for the past 35 years and founded Mediwell, a multidisciplinary private practice in Dainfern, Johannesburg.

On 14 November 2019, World Diabetes Day, she announced a ground-breaking new partnership between Mediwell and Evolutio, a South African-based cloud solutions company, that will use artificial intelligence to fight diabetes.

“In South Africa, data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that 7% or 3.85 million South Africans between the ages of 21 and 79 years have diabetes,” Dr Mojapelo says.

The Mediwell Digital Health pilot project kicks off in December 2019 and will bring preventive retinal screening to South Africa. Using advanced technology, doctors at Mediwell can screen for conditions like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and hypertensive eye pathologies and render results within minutes.

“It can benefit the diabetic community that is currently underserved in South Africa,” says Dr Mojapelo-Mokotedi. “The beauty of this technology is that anyone can use it, which has wide-reaching implications for use in remote areas as well. It has the potential to reach marginalised communities.” 

Digital roads towards universal healthcare

“We have a population of 56 million people where only 10 to 15% of those people have access to quality healthcare. So, while running a private practice, we entered the medically uninsured space too, where we felt we could really impact healthcare through mobile app-based technologies,” explains Dr Mojapelo.

“We started by developing the Microsoft-sponsored DocChat app, which allowed for communication with uninsured patients via SMS with our team of doctors.”

Uninsured employees often have to take a whole day off work to visit government clinics. To get around this, Mediwell offered them screening tests for everything from blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels to HIV and prostate cancer checks. “The point was ease of access, as these tests happened at one of 300 clinics or pharmacies near the employee. The service was cost-effective and allowed for immediate intervention in high-risk cases,” says Dr Mojapelo-Mokotedi.

The DocChat platform earned Mediwell a place at the inaugural Discovery Health Innovation Summit in Israel. “Together with a group of 30 health technopreneurs, we gained vast experience in digital health innovation,” Dr Mojapelo explains.

*Article supplied by Discovery Health

Discovery Health Medical Scheme is an independent non-profit entity governed by the Medical Schemes Act and regulated by the Council for Medical Schemes. It is administered by a separate company, Discovery Health (Pty) Ltd, an authorised financial services provider.