Funmi Adewara: Spearheading Telehealth’s Explosion Globally
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse stories with the mission to inspire kids and youth around the world to become empathetic entrepreneurs. This series features interviews with founders working on SDG 3 – Good Health & Wellbeing by a character named Spiffy. Health is on a lot of our minds these days, so let’s see what’s being done!
Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only Interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Dr. Funmi Adewara from Mobihealth International.
Spiffy: Dr. Funmi! Thanks for seeing me today. I’m in peak health but I’m curious - what challenge are you addressing with Mobihealth?
Funmi: Glad you’re well, Spiffy. Our mission is to make quality affordable healthcare a reality for millions of people in the world especially in Africa and Low Middle-Income Countries. We are enabling thousands of patients across the world to sign-up for real-time consultations, get access to genuine medications, diagnostics, referrals, follow-up, and home delivery of medications. Our interventions address shortages of doctors, exposure to counterfeit medicines, long-distance and ease the pressure on hospitals. Our doctors are board-certified multilingual medical experts across the US, UK, Europe, Israel, Nigeria, and other carefully selected countries. Telemedicine offers a unique opportunity for Africa and other developing countries to leapfrog their health care challenges and attain Universal Health Coverage.
Spiffy: Telemedicine is truly a great way forward! What motivated you to do this?
Funmi: Around the world, unequal access to health care is contributing to premature deaths from preventable diseases. I could have been one of those cases at age 10. I was rushed to a hospital with my life on the line- an experience I will never forget. This fueled my passion to create a world where everyone has access to quality health care as a basic human right. I came to realize that most deaths recorded could have been avoided if individuals have access to expert medical advice, and genuine drugs. My near-death experience compounded with other experiences motivated me to start the organization that is leveraging technology to change the poor narrative.
Spiffy: I’m glad you survived to tell the tale! How does Mobihealth make the world a more equitable place?
Funmi: In general, we have respect for our environment and operate in a manner that will leave a better planet for future generations. Within our organization, we ensure that recruitment is distributed by 60:40 ratios between women and men. Women are on the front lines fighting coronavirus and other health challenges, accounting for 70% of health care and social workers. Mobihealth supports gender equality; we do not discriminate among ethnic, tribe, or race.
Spiffy: What’s a milestone you’ve reached with Mobihealth?
Funmi: Winning the World Bank SDGs & Her Global Award 2020 was a key achievement of our organization this year. The awards are a recognition of the impact our platform is making and it will inspire us to do more. The award is to encourage every girl and woman out there in the world to dare to dream; never limit your dreams, it's the starting point to how far you can go, so dare to dream, big!
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of telemedicine today by over 500%-1000% globally. We had the unique opportunity of supporting the national pandemic response by offering teleconsultation, COVID screening, and remote management of patients. We also launched Africa's 1st teleguided COVID Self Swab test to reduce the spread of infection and stigmatization. It was quite a humbling experience to be a part of the solution.
Spiffy: What’s a time you’ve faced failure and overcome it?
Funmi: Building this type of platform requires a lot of hard work, resilience, and perseverance. Things can be tough and sometimes may not work out as planned but every experience- good and bad- will help us become the better version of ourselves. Winston Churchill said that “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” When I started Mobihealth, it was a challenge to get people to buy into the idea because of its novelty in the region. It was difficult to get funding– there were times when I didn't have enough resources to continue but I refused to give up. I continued to push bootstrapping the company. I worked hard and studied to adopt best practices and standards. This enabled us to build a robust, secure platform that has now gained global recognition.
Spiffy: That’s why I love interviewing entrepreneurs! Y’all are such persistent people and you’re always willing to learn. Speaking of, what’s something you’ve learned unexpectedly from someone?
Funmi: I have nine-year-old twins. It was fascinating to hear them pitch their business ideas to me and I was stunned at the quality of their innovative ideas, how they have unintentionally picked up on my entrepreneurial skills building websites, writing business plans, and pitching invaluable ideas to make our world a better place. I love lessons from children because they have great imaginations and there is no limit to what they can achieve.
Spiffy: Kids are so entrepreneurial! Reminds me of my friends on Fanoolu.
Funmi is UK based Physician and Cambridge trained Bioscience Entrepreneur of Nigerian heritage, founder of Mobihealth Intl. Funmi's career spans fifteen years across the NHS England and a stint in Pharmaceutical industry as a Drug Safety Physician. She is passionate about changing the poor narrative of Africa's healthcare leveraging on IT which has earned her/Mobihealth multiple awards globally. Funmi was one of the 7 Winners of the World Bank SDG&Her 2020 Global Awards amongst 2400 entries. (Nominated by the World Bank Group)
© 2020 Ladderworks LLC. Written by Elias Ross Trupin. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s stories of founders building a more equitable world at www.ladderworks.co/blogs/spiffys-blog
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.