Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Mafami Pty Ltd trading as Vula Mobile

What is the name of your solution?

Vula

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Vula connects health workers with specialists. In Northern Ghana at the Navrongo Research

What specific problem are you solving?

Vula is working with the Navrongo Health Research Centre in Northern Ghana to positively impact the provision of care for patients with sickle cell disease. Our purpose is to get patients access to the right healthcare.

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that occurs worldwide, but it is most common in populations with African ancestry. It is also found in people of Hispanic, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean descent.

Sickle cell disease is particularly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, where it affects up to 4% of the population. It is also common in countries in the Middle East, India, and the Caribbean. 

In the United States, sickle cell disease affects around 100,000 people, primarily African Americans. It is also found in Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and people of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean descent.

Overall, sickle cell disease is a global health issue that affects millions of people, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where access to treatment and care may be limited.

The problem we are solving is increasing the capacity and resilience in the health system, improving primary healthcare and because the Vula technology collects data it produces insights that inform future interventions and decision making by health administrators, ministries of health and funders.

What is your solution?

Vula is an app and web service that connects health workers. Primarily used to connect primary health workers with specialists. 

The best way to understand where Vula originated and its impact is to share this presentation: How the Vula app is revolutionising the South African healthcare system It describes ophthalmology, but the principles are the same for all specialties. Vula is used in over 60 specialty services. There are additional videos, a 2 minute summary and interviews with health workers.
The website contains written testimonials from health worker and health managers:https://www.vulamobile.com/tes...
For a more detailed view, the 5 academic publications on Vula’s use and impact can be found on this link: https://www.vulamobile.com/research. In summary, Vula reduces the number of unnecessary referrals, improves communication between health workers and provides meaningful data to health administrators.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Background: Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that occurs worldwide, but it is most common in populations with African ancestry. It is also found in people of Hispanic, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean descent.

Target population for the Vula solution is that served by the Navrongo Health Research Centre (NHRC). This is a research institution located in the town of Navrongo in northern Ghana. The NHRC serves a population of approximately 152,000 people living in the Kassena-Nankana District and surrounding areas.

Navrongo is located in the Upper East Region of Ghana, which is one of the poorest regions in the country. The population in the area is largely rural, and many people rely on subsistence farming for their livelihoods.

The poverty rate in the Upper East Region is higher than the national average, and the region faces a number of social and economic challenges, including limited access to healthcare, education, and other basic services. These challenges have a significant impact on the health and well-being of the population, particularly on vulnerable groups such as children, women, and people with chronic health conditions like sickle cell disease.

Through Vula's work connecting primary health workers in the rural communities with the specialist services at the NHRC we aim to improve the health and well-being of people in the area, particularly those who are most vulnerable and marginalized. 


How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Dr Mapham is from a rural area in South Africa called the Eastern Cape. Our team representative, Stacey Ann Pillay is from a rural area in South Africa called Kwa-Zulu Natal. We always visit the areas that use Vula and this includes spending time with the Navrongo Health Research Centre, see the link on their webpage The Vula system was adapted and designed by the health workers in Navrongo as well as the community health workers.

61245_WhatsApp%20Image%202023-05-11%20at%2016_1440x810.jpeg
61249_WhatsApp%20Image%202023-05-11%20at%2016_1440x810.jpeg
61256_WhatsApp%20Image%202023-05-11%20at%2016_1440x810.jpg


Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Enable informed interventions, investment, and decision-making by governments, local health systems, and aid groups

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Navrongo, Upper East Region, Ghana

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • South Africa

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is focused on increased efficiency

How many people does your solution currently serve?

To date (11th May 2023): 

Health workers: 31,314

Patients benefitting: 1,099,492

Health administrators receiving monthly data analytic reports: 312

Research publications: 6

Why are you applying to Solve?

Vula is scaling and I am applying to Solve to get support in the following areas.

Human resources: how do I best structure the team to scale easily and in a way that doesn't inhibit the growth in impact

Legal & Regulatory: We are expanding into more countries, each with its own medico-legal requirements. We don't have an in house legal counsel, so I need to get support and advice in how to best approach this challenge.

Monitoring and Evaluation: We produce a lot of data. We do not have internal research capacity. I am looking for partnerships in the MIT Solve network so that I can combine our data source with M&E expertise. This will help measure and improve our impact.

Public Relations: Vula works with frontline health workers in many rural areas. These are the angels of healthcare, people who will make any system work despite all the challenges. With public relations support we can both promote the inspirational work at the frontline as well as inspire other people who may have misconceptions of rural healthcare to emulate them.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Human Capital (e.g. sourcing talent, board development)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Dr William Mapham

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Vula is regarded as an innovative solution. Voted by MTN in 2019 as the Best Health Solution in South Africa and by the UNDP in 2021 as one of the top 4 most innovative solutions improving access to healthcare.

Most tele-health solutions focus on the primary care patient to provider space. Vula is different. Vula connects health workers to each other. This means that you could see any health worker who can use Vula to get specialist advice in order to treat you. This saves you a trip to a specialist and the health worker learns every time Vula is used.

The 6 publications to date show that the imapct is now improving health systems.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Big Hairy Audacious Goal:

1 million health workers using Vula every week.

This means that 10million patients will have benefitted.

Plan:

Structure the business to scale, expand in terms of territories and specialties. 

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-being

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

We received help from a consultancy to measure our impact according to the SDGs.

Please see this spreadsheet for the details

What is your theory of change?

Please see our theory of change on this link

It includes references to the 6 publications on Vula's impact

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Vula App

Vula Web Dashbaord

Vula Analytics (PDF reports)

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Botswana
  • Ghana
  • Namibia
  • South Africa

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Kenya
  • Rwanda
  • Zambia
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

How many people work on your solution team?

15

How long have you been working on your solution?

9

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Our company aims for inclusivity.

Senior Management > 50% female

Solution Team

 
    Back
to Top