Entrepreneur

This Startup Helps Migrants In M’sia Get Virtual Doctor Consultations In Their Native Language

Imagine this: due to personal circumstances, you’ve left your home country to seek better work opportunities in a country where you don’t speak the same language.

Like any other human, you will fall ill sometimes, and this risk is increased because you work a 3D (dangerous, dirty and difficult) job. But because you don’t speak the same language, you fear discrimination and so you avoid seeking medical help, letting your condition worsen.

For undocumented migrants working in Malaysia and contributing to our economic development, this is very much a reality that they don’t have to imagine.

Aware that the majority of them are Bangladeshi, one man called Abu Hasnat Sultanur Reza, a migrant from Bangladesh himself, decided to establish ClicknCare to bridge the healthcare gap for migrants all across the globe, beginning with Malaysia.

Addressing 3 Major Issues For Migrants In 3D Jobs

An initiative under Simple Motion Sdn Bhd, ClicknCare was commercialised in 2019. Sultanur doesn’t work alone; his co-founder is Mir Rashedul Hossain, and together they lead a team of about 5 (themselves included).

Sultanur and Rashedul / Image Credit: ClicknCare

Sultanur and Rashedul have known each other for almost two decades, having worked together for Telenor back in Bangladesh.

For the last 10 years, Sultanur has been involved in telemedicine and telehealth, even running an e-clinic back in Bangladesh with the help of a local NGO.

With Fridays being a holiday in Bangladesh, he used to run free Friday clinics in his own house where he and his team would help around 50 patients who weren’t able to pay for medical services.

On the other hand, Rashedul had experience in mobile financial services as well as microinsurance, the latter of which Sultanur believes would be a good differentiator for ClicknCare on the market if they were to introduce it as a value added service.

For now, however, ClicknCare has 2 revenue models: ClickTalk, and ClickDoc. It employs ‘agents’ who are simply Bangladeshi sundry shop owners to sell ClickTalk and ClickDoc cards, much like how a mobile store might sell prepaid to-up cards.

An agent demonstrating ClicknCare to migrant workers / Image Credit: ClicknCare

ClickTalk costs RM10 per card and lets migrants video call a general practitioner (GP) for medical advice (preventive care), while ClickDoc costs RM35 and allows migrants to get a video call consultation for their symptoms and get a prescription on their smartphones.

“We address 3 major challenges: language issues, cost issues, and documentation issues, on top of other challenges like misconceptions, as the migrants have phobias that doctors will not treat them well as they are foreigners,” Sultanur said.

“Because they also do 3D jobs, they might feel a bit of an inferiority complex, so that’s why they don’t go to the doctor’s.”

Virtual Doctor Consultations

In essence, ClicknCare functions as a virtual doctor consultation. This means that users do not need to travel to a physical clinic or hospital just to get an initial consultation or medical advice in their mother tongue, Bangla.

On the other side of the screen is still a real doctor, which Sultanur said that they have 6 of, who are all Malaysia Medical Council (MMC) registered and Annual Practicing Certificate (APC) holders.

These Bangla-speaking doctors can help properly diagnose and provide an understandable prescription for them.

ClicknCare staff demonstrating the usage of the platform / Image Credit: ClicknCare

When we asked Sultanur what sort of illnesses the migrants could get a consultation for via ClicknCare, he said, “All general issues you’d bring to a GP clinic, things like fever, sore throat, gastric problems, headaches, dermatology issues, stomach pain, etc. Anything that needs primary or preventive care.”

For requirements like blood pressure measurements or temperature-taking, ClicknCare distributes the relevant equipment to their agents that are located in or near migrant communities.

The migrants can simply head to these nearby locations to get their needed measurements and the doctors can access the information through the video call.

According to him, studies have shown that 70% of health issues can be resolved over consultations, but he is aware that telemedicine is also not a total solution.

While preventive care can be done completely through the video call, more serious issues and accidents will still require the migrant to head to a physical hospital or clinic for care after the virtual consultation.

The advantage that ClicknCare gives migrants, in this case, is the awareness that they are facing a more serious issue and need urgent care, as opposed to them simply dismissing their condition until it’s too severe.

Bridging As Many Gaps As Possible

ClicknCare does not have a license to supply medicine to the migrants, but they’re working with clinics and pharmacies like Poliklinik Dhaliwal in Cheras and Farmasi Ideal to bridge that gap.

“The prerequisite is that the clinic or pharmacy has to be in the area of the migrant workers, so that anyone from any site will be able to deliver the medicine within 2 days,” Sultanur said.

This potentially helps migrants reduce the cost of transportation to collect the medicine, although they are welcome to visit the closest pharmacy or clinic to collect it themselves.  

Image Credit: ClicknCare

Pharmacies and clinics are incentivised to work with ClicknCare as they’re opened up to a whole demographic of customers they would otherwise have never met.

Whenever they make a sale through ClicknCare, the latter receives a 5-10% commission. On the other hand, the 6 doctors get a 50% cut from ClicknCare and the agents get 20%.

But funding is still a major challenge, as a chunk of the RM250,000 capital they put into starting ClicknCare was wasted on unnecessary office space rentals and a too-large team in the beginning.

Learning from that experience, Sultanur and his smaller team now meet up in partner clinics and coworking spaces.

They’re also looking to collaborate with e-wallet service providers like Boost, telecommunication providers, and insurance companies so they can enhance ClicknCare’s services at a minimal cost.

At the moment, ClicknCare targets Bangladeshi customers, but Sultanur shared that they soon want to include other national languages from other ASEAN countries like Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and even Pakistan.

  • You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: ClicknCare

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