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Viebeg founder Alex Musyoka talks to a customer about data-driven healthcare


Rwanda uses AI to improve healthcare

Viebeg Technologies is expanding access to affordable health care in Central and East Africa by assisting healthcare facilities to purchase supplies in real-time

Drug stock-outs and shortage of medical equipment in health facilities in Rwanda are becoming a thing of the past, thanks to an innovation that is addressing procurement constraints.

Viebeg Technologies, a venture capital-backed Health Tech company, is helping to expand access to affordable health care in Central and East Africa by aiding healthcare facilities in procuring supplies in real-time. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to manage supply chain processes (from shipping to warehousing, distribution and inventory management) to ensure that healthcare facilities have the precise medical supplies in stock.

The Rwanda Innovation Fund, partly financed by the African Development Bank,  has invested in Viebeg’s data-driven logistics platform.

Tobias Reiter, Viebeg Technologies co-founder and CEO, says the firm’s AI-driven medical procurement platform directly connects healthcare providers with manufacturers. This removes brokers and middlemen from the value chain, generating cost savings of up to 40 percent for customers.

“We saw that many medical facilities did not have the right supplies; and also from reports that in Africa, in every five minutes, people are dying from conditions that could be prevented if we had the right medical supplies,” says Reiter.

The company, which was set up in 2018, works with many health facilities in Rwanda, where two million-people have been treated with Viebeg products, says Alex Musyoka, co-founder and chief commercial officer. It is already making inroads in other parts of East Africa, including Kenya, Burundi and Congo, and serving over 500 facilities. The company plans to expand across Africa.

One of the healthcare facilities in Rwanda that can now find essential products for their specific fields at affordable rates is the Kivu Specialist Clinic, established by Dr Amol Kulkarni, one of only three maxillofacial surgeons in Rwanda.

Modern equipment is of utmost importance for specialists who treat defects and injuries of the mouth, teeth and jaws, but they are often not affordable in Africa.

Dr Amol said Viebeg helped his clinic to acquire an orthopantomogram machine (a panoramic dental X-ray of the upper and lower jaw), thereby boosting its cutting-edge capability.  He said: “In four months, the clinic will have fully paid for the new OPG machine. We are considered one of the best-equipped clinics in Rwanda. Viebeg helped me establish my clinic, and now I am confident in having Viebeg as my partner to maintain it.”

Similarly, the Ejo Heza Surgical Centre in Kigali needed a new anaesthesia machine as their old one had broken down. But they did not have the funds to purchase a new one. 

Dr Dominique Savio Mugenzi, orthopaedic surgeon and managing director of Ejo Heza, says: “As Viebeg offers special payment terms for products, Ejo Heza became Viebeg’s client and acquired the new equipment within three weeks. This has allowed our facility to continue saving lives.

“Thanks to Viebeg’s service, we are now procuring our medical supplies and equipment through the platform, and this has resulted in a significant reduction of procurement costs and stock-outs of medical supplies.”

Viebeg’s annual revenue increased from $80,000 to $180,000 six months after the funding from the Rwanda Innovation Fund, representing a 125 percent growth. Musyoka projects that the figure will grow to $2.5 million by the end of 2022.

Apart from improving revenues, the funding has enabled the company to, among other things, conduct training for its employees, access working capital, and employ more workers.

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