Zimbabwe Developer Launches Whatsapp Chatbot To Connect Zimbabweans To Pharmacies

By Michael Gwarisa

In a move that is set to ease hurdles associated with accessing medicines and other essential drugs at community level, a Zimbabwean Chatbot Engineer, Blessing Museki and his team, have developed Cloomi, a Whatsapp Chatbot that is set to link millions of Zimbabweans to pharmacies.

To date, 60 pharmacies across Harare have already partnered with the developers. HealthTimes had the opportunity to interact with a convenient platform which allows one to quickly check the availability of drugs and compare prices. The Chatbot’s user-friendly interface simplifies the process, empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their healthcare needs, ensuring convenience and affordability for all.

We aim to be present in all 10 provinces by mid-2024,” said Museki during an interview with HealthTimes.   

The WhatsApp chatbot ensures the user takes a minute or two to have their prescription in the pharmacy system and also shares the location of the user with the pharmacy albeit keeping their identity anonymous.

“Using the bot a user can send a text description of the medication, or a screenshot of the prescription, making sure to obscure any personally-identifying details. On the pharmacy side the bot allows them to see customer inquiries immediately, minus the identity of the client. All they know is that a client in their locality is looking for this medication.

“They can respond to the customer with availability, price, or any extra notes or request for more information. For example, a pharmacist could request the strength of the medication. This message, plus the contact information of the pharmacy, is immediately sent back to the customer. Customers receive messages only from pharmacies that confirm availability.”

After receiving the message from the pharmacy the user decides whether or not they want to engage with the pharmacy. The user can send a WhatsApp message, call, or walk to the pharmacy.

“Already we’re seeing an average request receiving the first response within 10 minutes, and over 10 responses in total. By the way, pharmacies have up to 24 hours to respond to a customer request, or the request expires,” added Mueki.

He said the idea behind Cloomi started back in 2022 during a chat in a family WhatsApp group when I discovered just how inefficient it is to find the price & and availability of essential medicine.

“It’s either calling/texting each pharmacy one by one, or moving from pharmacy to pharmacy with a prescription in hand. I thought: there had to be a better way to do this. As a software engineer, the first thing that came to my mind was some sort of internet solution.

“Then again I thought: for the majority of Zimbabweans internet via the traditional web browser is slow, unreliable, and expensive. The obvious solution in my mind was WhatsApp, which is the de facto browser for Zimbabweans and is accessible via cheaper data bundles. Besides, being message-based a WhatsApp transaction will always be complete, even with slow internet, or during intermittent loss of data connection. A traditional browser transaction will most likely fail in these scenarios.”

The ChatBot saves the patient's time, money, and all the hassle of running around looking 
for medication.

“For pharmacies, Cloomi will help them expand their client base, enhance customer experience, and pitch them as a forward-thinking business in tune with today’s tech-savvy generation. Best of all, it’s free to be listed, and to directly connect with potential patients. The main objective of Cloomi is to connect Zimbabweans with nearby health services and products, empowering them to effortlessly check availability and compare prices 24/7.

“Our mission is to empower Zimbabweans to make informed decisions about their healthcare needs, ensuring convenience and affordability for all. Already we are almost done onboarding the initial batch of medical laboratories, and after that we’re moving to clinics, doctors’ practices, and hospitals. We want Cloomi to be the de facto health hotline for the country, so Zimbabweans can access health information anywhere, anytime.”

Meanwhile, the Bit allows relatives, friends and relatives of patients to make purchases on behalf of their sick and one does not necessarily need to be a patient to use the Chatbot;.

Pharmacies wishing to join the platform can email Cloomi providing their pharmacy name, physical address and, crucially, the pharmacy’s WhatsApp mobile number. There is no subscription fee for pharmacies, and indeed all the other service providers that we are onboarding.

 

 

 

 

 

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One Thought to “Zimbabwe Developer Launches Whatsapp Chatbot To Connect Zimbabweans To Pharmacies”

  1. Hummility Museki Mudozvori

    What a noble idea Mr Museki ,thank you so much for coming up with such a time saving and efficient idea.

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