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TABIBI provides medical care during coronavirus outbreak in Egypt

By Dima Hamdallah

Medical services offered to companies and clients from home

“Our frontline medical workers are the real heroes and heroines of the coronavirus pandemic! The situation made us realise how indispensable our team is and the importance of being close to them in order to keep our clients in Egypt safe,” says Dr Ehab Attia, the Performance Excellence Manager at TABIBI, a medical service provider that responded to the virus by offering quality and convenient healthcare to its clients. With a team of doctors specialising in family medicine and paediatrics, they serve their patients around the clock at their clinics or in the comfort of their clients’ homes.

TABIBI is a beneficiary of an EBRD programme that provided them with business advice in 2018, funded by the European Union, to develop a marketing strategy to better promote their services. This advice contributed to a 32 per cent growth during the first quarter of 2019 as a result of implementing the new marketing strategy, which included a rebranding and above-the-line campaigns. Such a positive impact encouraged them to seek the help of the EBRD again in 2019, this time to assist in designing and implementing two new programmes for urgent medical care and wellness with the help of a healthcare consultant.

When the coronavirus started to spread in the country in March this year, the company started offering online consultations and telehealth lines dedicated to virus-related situations, to protect patients from the risks of physical clinic visits. The company’s remote medical support has assisted more than 200 clients to date. In addition, they implemented campaigns to raise awareness about the virus through health education material. They offer safe delivery of medication to clients and have integrated an electronic payment option for patients in order to avoid the use of cash.

The name of the company, TABIBI, is an Arabic word meaning “my doctor”. It was founded in 2011 with the aim of promoting health and wellness among clients, as well as raising awareness about preventative and primary care through introducing the concept of group practice.

Another unique service that TABIBI provided to support workplaces that needed to continue operations throughout the pandemic was a customised list of integrated services to ensure a safe work environment. These included dedicated doctors on location to perform check-ups and screenings to keep employees safe at work and helplines for the employees to assist with medical advice.

The safety of their own staff is of the utmost priority during the outbreak and has implications for the safety of their clients, so the company created a crisis committee to implement proactive measures to ensure that their team was safe. These focused on improving their physicians’ performance and wellbeing and preventing burnout from the pressures that they faced working around the clock. They also monitored spread of the virus in Egypt and formulated protocols including screenings, case assessments and intervention plans according to case severity, with training to back this up, along with infection control guidelines for home and clinic visits.

Dr Attia says that the way patients view medical assistance has also evolved due to the pandemic as they become more conscious of its severity and adopt alternative methods of treatment: “In the past, patients were more comfortable with a clinical visit, but now they are more cooperative in accepting a virtual consultation. Patients are now prioritising their medical needs depending on urgency, taking the decision to stay safe by replacing a clinic or home visit with a simple video call with a physician.”

TABIBI has a team of 30 physicians and 40 consultants in different specialties and the company currently operates three clinics located in Cairo that cover all clients’ health needs. Their services also include diagnostic visits, lab tests and vaccines.

In 2015, the company launched the TABIBI Academy in partnership with Primary Care International (PCI), one of the United Kingdom’s leading providers of medical education. The academy offers an induction program for all full time physicians, refresher courses on international evidence-based guidelines and online educational programmes while sharing best practices from primary care providers in emerging markets.

The EBRD has been focusing on supporting Egyptian small and medium-sized enterprises with advice and finance. To date over 900 SMEs in Egypt in 17 different sectors have been supported, with 80 per cent showing an increase in turnover of at least 44 per cent.

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