Online portal facilitates testing from home
Egypt now has a safer alternative to administering drive-through coronavirus tests. Youspital is an online platform providing access to discounted healthcare services which responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by offering home testing to clients for a very reasonable EGP 500 (around €30). This includes two rapid preliminary tests and ensures that underserved communities can afford to be tested for the virus.
The company joined the EBRD’s Star Venture in Egypt this year. The programme is funded by the European Union and Korea. With the support of the European Union, Youspital undertook an online diagnostic workshop with the IfM ECS from the University of Cambridge to help the start-up reformulate their business priorities and identify the most effective type of advisory projects to meet their goals.
Youspital believes they have achieved a great impact within the community, as this pandemic has helped people understand new methods of testing which adopt safer procedures such as receiving online consultations and testing from the comfort and isolation of their own homes. Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Managing Director of Youspital, says: “People are starting to understand the importance of what we are doing and how we do it. Home testing is better than drive-through testing, as sick patients don’t need to leave their homes. It also improves the safety of medical staff.”
To meet the sudden high demand for this type of test following the pandemic, Youspital offered Covid-19 rapid test kits through one of their service providers and swiftly launched their online platform this month. Clients can easily order the tests, receive them at home, then book a slot for collection of blood tests, which are forwarded to a laboratory for analysis. Compared to other labs in the country, Youspital offers discounts of 30 per cent for coronavirus testing and 25–70 per cent for other blood tests, helping many clients get tested for much less than they would usually pay.
The online platform, run by a team of seven people, is currently among the first private ventures in Egypt to offer bookings for different medical tests all over the country, using convenient online payment methods. According to Mr Abdel Aziz, “When it comes to healthcare, 93 million people in Egypt, out of the total of 100 million, are underserved and under-insured. This is why we set up this company. Our role, especially during these difficult times, is essential to support our country.”
In addition, Youspital offers a free hotline for medical consultations regarding the virus, which helps to avoid unnecessary home visits or fees for laboratory tests and – more importantly – minimises the risk of the virus spread.
Youspital has been online for almost a year now, and has so far received over 3,000 bookings with a total value of EGP 500,000 (equivalent to €29,000), thus saving their customers over EGP 600,000 (equivalent to €35,000). Youspital serves more than 1,400 locations in almost all governorates of the country, and they anticipate expanding their services to other countries in North Africa.
The EBRD has been focusing on supporting Egyptian small- and medium-sized enterprises with advice and finance. So far, 122 start-ups have been supported through the Star Venture programme in the country.