Y’all know the struggles of having sick old people around, forget the love, you just can’t deal with trying to breathe life into another individual for long. What I love most about a place like Nigeria, is how people or organizations are steadily trying to fix real-life problems that they relate to. While we wait on municipal governments and agencies to fix our broken health care system, Gerocare – A subscription-based medical care for the elderly, founded by Ebi Ofrey, Ajibola Meraiyebu, and Bruce Lucas. The idea was initiated born out of the pains Dr. Ebi Ofrey felt when he had to cope distance, at a time his family needed him beside his father, who had two strokes in the space of one year. At the point, he realized the extent to which other people needed help to provide care for their old ones.
Our vision is to be the one-stop shop for everything regarding elderly care beginning with our flagship product which is a subscription-based medical service for the elderly. This is done by identifying and managing their health conditions in a timely manner thereby not only improving their qualify of life, but also ensuring peace of mind for both the elderly and their loved ones.
Upon subscription, the aged are entitled to regular home visitation by doctors and administration of health care peculiar to their needs. According to the founders, this goes a long way in preventing incapacitation caused by health deterioration, and cases of unnecessary deaths. This is done by identifying and managing their health conditions in a timely manner. Ebi said he tested the concept for three years in Port Harcourt, River States where his first set of clients were family members who paid him a subscription fee of 20,000 Naira ($56) every month. He admits that “the service was a bit more expensive back then”, considering that clients had to pay a one-time registration fee of 50,000 Naira ($139) before the routine starts. After successfully building his first set of clients and testing the model, he figured he had to sign up more doctors in order to scale the business.
Gerocare launched in May 2017, and not until they got into the Ventures Platform Program they didn’t have a website or an app. At first, they offered ‘free-trial’ method, a model Ebi attests wasn’t right for the business because many people didn’t return for another consultation after the first. He suspects it was so most likely because it didn’t cost them anything. Today, most of the startup’s clients are Nigerians in the diaspora who pay for their parents to get healthcare, Nigerians who are living within the country but away from their parents, elderly patients who pay for themselves and enterprise clients.
Many parents will most likely decline in a bid to help their children save money or save them the stress”. Children should gift subscription to Gerocare to their elderly parents. When they do this, my experience has been that parents are very appreciative of the gesture – Ebi
Currently, individual clients pay 6,300 Naira monthly, a price that affords them to receive a visitation from a doctor, excluding drugs, blood tests, additional visits or extended relationships are done at additional costs. For enterprise clients, the service caters to NGOs and organizations who want to sign up a group of parents on the platform or patients in selected communities, as well as HMOs who need doctors to provide home service to their clients. For enterprise clients, there is typically a revenue-sharing arrangement. The minimum requirement for doctors to get on the platform is 3 – 4 years post NYSC experience. Doctors in key locations like Lagos and Ibadan have about 3 patients every month.
Gerocare currently has about 700 users on the platform till date with about 100 actives. There are about 747 doctors on the platform across Nigeria present in all states except in Kebbi State due to the limited number of doctors in the state. The business has been growing by 22% month-on-month (based on subscriptions) and plans to also roll out the service to other African nations. Furthermore, the startup is considering expanding its service to other patients outside its current target of elderly people. This is as a result of feedback they received from clients outside their current target who have asked to also receive the service.