Published on Jul 26, 2021
Safe and secure healthcare delivery still appears to be a challenge in this part of the world and the challenge took another turn especially during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic when there was a total lockdown.
You can imagine a situation where the number of available medical personal isn’t enough to serve a certain number of people and suddenly there was a lockdown which now increased the odds of getting adequate healthcare services.
However, Sudhir Singh Rathore, Founder and CEO of SURJEN an Abuja-based health tech startup is changing this narrative.
The health tech startup is a private online platform that provides a safe and secure interaction between healthcare service providers and consumers.
SURJEN provides users on-demand access to teleconsultation with doctors, home pickup of medical samples for lab testing, surgery packages costs, emergency ambulance services, medical tourism services and healthcare marketplace, as close as their mobile phones.
After spending years in Nigeria, Sudhir realized a major gap in the Nigerian healthcare delivery when his kids got sick of malaria and had high fever, he had to take them to the hospital in the middle of the night, while he drove to the hospital, he wished the hospital could have send one of their nurses or doctors to his house to administer the necessary medicine.
Through thorough research, Sudhir found out that none of the hospitals were willing to send the medical staff to a patient’s house due to the number of unattended ones at the hospitals and the ones which were willing were charging high fees.
“We conceptualized the idea early 2020 and kick-started on 15th July 2020 by launching our website surjen.com at the peak of COVID-19 Pandemic in Abuja”
SURJEN is basically changing the way healthcare is delivered in Nigeria as it offers patients the opportunity to have more control on their ability to take informed decisions.
Patients can book various lab tests at the comfort of their homes with a facility for home pick up of samples by our phlebotomist. They can also have free second medical opinions, compare costs of surgeries from various hospitals, Book Ambulance.
Mission and vision
The private online platform aims to leverage technology in bridging the gap between consumers and providers by building a competitive and transparent healthcare services delivery platform for Africans while envisioning an ecosystem that can offer Accessible, Affordable and Authentic (AAA) healthcare delivery services for Africans.
“We have developed a website for our users to book doctor’s and phlebotomist’s home visit appointments with transparent and competitive pricing and a secured online payment gateway.”
How SURJEN works
The health tech startup provides various healthcare services at home, be it blood testing, doctor’s visit, medicine administration, emergency ambulance or second opinions from healthcare specialists.
“We have a 24/7 call center which handles customer’s health-related phone calls and online queries.”
Users can also select and book the services using available phone contact on the platform’s website and after payment, you get scheduled for offline service delivery.
According to its website, SURJEN has attended to more than 2250, worked with over 500 healthcare partners and more than 1200 healthcare services.
However, beyond this, the health tech startup following its launch in the mid of last year’s Covid Pandemic hasn’t been faced with many challenges.
“We wanted to validate the product first, in a multicultural and multi-ethnicity market like Abuja and then to other places.
The market acceptance was quick and we largely gained through word-of-mouth publicity due to high standards of our services.”
According to Sudhir, most of the platform’s new customers are recommended by the customers who have used their services earlier.
“We have large corporate clients which include American Embassy, Czech Embassy, Indonesian Embassy, ACTED, Venus Medicare, USAID, Olam to name a few.”, he added
Explaining further, the founder said that the startup has been approached by some of the most prestigious angel investors and VCs however, there are no deals with any of them yet.
“We have concentrated more on bootstrapping the startup for some more time. We were self-sufficient within two months of our launch and didn’t have many financial challenges.
However, we are open to offers from investors who can provide us exponential growth in a short time in other regions of west Africa.”
Sudhir further stated that owing to some favorable response to its services in Abuja, the startup is expanding to Lagos and Kano soon.
“We have been getting calls from customers from these regions. Now is the time we think we are equipped enough in terms of experience in service delivery that we can maintain our quality standards.”
Founder Institute experience
According to Sudhir, Founder Institute was a thought provoking and exhaustive experience.
“With around thirty-six hours to put in into the course every week while you are building the startup along with family commitments, it was a very gruelling experience for someone like me.
It has made me learn to work under pressure but still keep calm. I think I am a better entrepreneur post FI course.”
Concluding the founder stated that SURJEN through its team was able to offer its services to the labs which were overwhelmed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thus, it has created a bridge between the healthcare service providers and the end users.
Apart from that, the health tech startup was also able to provide authentic information to Covid patients about the availability of doctors, beds and oxygen at the government and private isolation centers which has saved many lives.