September 23, 2023

A glimpse into MTN’s Yello Doctor Initiative

3 min read

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It also encompasses the ability to recover from illness and other problems – social, psychological, emotional.

The health sector is important to every society in the world today, as there is no development without a healthy population. The growth of a community is largely dependent on how healthy the population of the community is. Healthy people are assets to a nation, as they are stronger, more productive and can work and carry out day to day activities that in turn impact the growth of the nation.

Governments around the world continue to put in efforts to better their healthcare system, however, despite the government’s numerous efforts to provide healthcare services, access to primary healthcare continues to be a challenge hence more involvement of the private sector. In recent times, the private sector has become more involved in a partnership with the government in areas of national priority, especially healthcare. 

There is a growing appreciation and recognition of the role of the private sector in the development of better health systems and the improvement of healthcare. In Nigeria today, organisations have come up with several initiatives to collaborate with the government to improve the healthcare system. A distinct initiative is the Y’ello Doctor by the MTN Foundation. 

The Y’ello Doctor initiative is aimed at increasing the accessibility of Nigerians living in rural or peri-rural communities to medical services and primary healthcare interventions through the mobile clinic platforms using trucks. The initiative is in alignment with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3 – Good health and well-being, and Goal 17 – Partnerships for the goals.

The initiative involves the deployment of fully equipped mobile clinics across Nigeria with consumables and drugs for an initial one-year period. Since the establishment of the intervention in 2014, Taraba, Abia, Ogun, Delta, Katsina, and Niger states have benefitted from the first two phases and over 650,000 people and 500 communities have been provided with basic healthcare.

Currently, in its third phase, Y’ello Doctor is implemented in partnership with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Market Doctors; a team of qualified medical practitioners, who take affordable healthcare to the doorstep of Nigerians in rural communities and marketplaces. 

The third phase of the Y’ello Doctor Initiative has seen the deployment of the mobile medical trucks to Kwara, Kano, Gombe, Anambra and Lagos states. The trucks are available to provide free medical services including, medical screening and diagnosis, consultations, treatment, drug descriptions, COVID-19 vaccination as well as referral services. 

While commenting on the initiative, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanya, stated that the mobile medical trucks are fully equipped with medications required for the treatment of regular basic diseases like malaria, diarrhoea, respiratory tract infection, screening for diabetes, HIV and hepatitis. She added that the initiative will focus on maternal and child health and drive a culture of visiting primary healthcare centres and health facilities, especially in rural communities. 

“The Y’ello Doctor project is essentially about closing the last mile between diagnosis and treatment. We realise that health is an economic issue, many people cannot go to the hospital because they cannot afford it, therefore we take the burden off them by providing free access to healthcare. We will continue to work with the government, to ensure that Nigerians, especially those in rural and semi-urban communities  have access to basic healthcare.” Odunayo said.

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