Have you ever zipped around town looking for a drug that seems to have been made up by the doctor? It is quite frustrating having to visit pharmacy after pharmacy looking for medicine and finding empty shelves, especially when there is a bedridden patient in desperate need of the drugs.
Enter the MIS
The Medical Information Service (MIS) is a local startup that wants to solve this problem. Their vision is to provide:
- real-time information about where people can find specific medicines in Zimbabwe, and
- real-time information about the prices of those medicines
So, how does one get this sweet deal? The solution shows that true Zimbabweans worked on this. They realised that most Zimbabweans will have access to WhatsApp and only WhatsApp and so users need only save the Medical Information Service number (0776 640 888) in their phones and make enquiries through WhatsApp. The process goes like so:
- Save 0776 640 888 in your contacts
- text the MIS the name of the medicine you are looking for, or a picture showing clearly the name of the medicine. Do NOT send a picture that shows people’s names
- Text the MIS where exactly in Zimbabwe you are and the method of payment you want to use at the pharmacy (USD, ZWL, Swipe, Ecocash or Medical aid).
- (Do note that this a text only platform and so do not try to call the number, only text will be responded to)
They promise that you will get the details of the pharmacies that report to have this medicine and their prices, in under 10 minutes. Of course, some medicines are a bit scarce and may take longer than 10 minutes to find. The time of day a user sends their request and network challenges may also affect this turnaround time.
Those that have tried to purchase medicine using medical aid cards will tell you that pharmacies are quite picky when it comes to accepting those. With the MIS, you will know which pharmacies accept your medical aid card before you take one step.
How MIS works
MIS has access to over 200 pharmacies and over 600 pharmaceutical personnel currently. So, put simply, MIS contacts those pharmacies on behalf of the user and relays the information received.
They will continue signing up more pharmacies and so the service will only get better in time.
Oh, and it doesn’t cost a thing to you, the user. MIS does not charge users for their enquiries. All you need to have is your WhatsApp bundle and you’re good to go. You really have nothing to lose and so you might as well try MIS and see how it works out.
And that’s it, you will know exactly where to go to get the medicine and how much it will cost. You, as a user of the MIS service really have nothing to lose.
This service reminds me of Zumbani Health. Except Zumbani seeks to connect you with doctors, specialists and diagnostic labs. So you select the physician there and once you see the doctor and get a prescription, the MIS will then help you find the medicine. The two services work together quite nicely.
You gotta love these local solutions for local problems.