Verifie Health: Confidential, Convenient and Safe Sexual and Reproductive Health Services
Claudia Owusu is a young woman with a passion for health and fitness. After earning a bachelor’s degree in medical assisting and a master’s degree in public health, she worked as a medical assistant in orthopedics for a few years before co-founding Verifie Health, a start-up specializing in sexual and reproductive health and wellness prevention. She believes that healthcare and lifestyle are inextricably linked, and her goal is to bring the two together in a way that is transparent, affordable, and accessible to all. In this interview, she lifts a corner of the veil on the startup Verifie, the various goals it aims to achieve, as well as her experience with the NHA program.
What is the story behind your startup?
As a health care professional and throughout my studies, it was difficult for me to see so many young people suffering from easily preventable diseases such as STIs and other non-communicable diseases. So I wanted to change this status quo and, in my own way, I offered to educate my patients about SRH issues. I also participated in outreach efforts to do so on a larger scale. So when Alexander Quaisie (co-founder and CEO of Verifie) told me about this really bold campaign he was running with young people to improve access to testing and treatment for STIs and other lifestyle diseases, I didn’t hesitate to join the initiative.
Who are your target customers, and what problem are you solving?
With Verifie, we focus primarily on youth and other vulnerable groups who, in their quest for sexual and reproductive health solutions, face intense stigma and discrimination due to cultural opposition in Ghana and many other parts of Africa.
What are your challenges?
Our challenges were many in the beginning, especially in finance and logistics. But seeing the growth of this start-up in real time is very encouraging for us. Also the number of companies that want to collaborate with us confirms that we are on the right track.
What does success look like?
For my part, success is the impact we have on people’s daily lives. We have transformed and continue to transform the lives of many young people. Not only have we diagnosed and treated more than a dozen people living with HIV and hepatitis B, but being able to empower young people like me to make choices about their sexual health and present them with options makes me excited about a healthier generation. In the future, we plan to expand our business to reach more young people throughout Africa so we can change lives.
Why did you apply for NHA?
We were attracted to the focus on sexual and reproductive health, which was a bold statement indicating Intrepid Entrepreneurs’ commitment to an issue that has long been neglected in many parts of Africa. We are aligned with the program’s vision and want to be partners in the quest to improve access to sexual and reproductive health.
What were your expectations?
Our expectations were exceeded. The level of expertise and opportunities were overwhelming. We were especially thrilled with the field visits; The co-founders actually taking time out of their busy schedules to travel all the way to Ghana to meet some of our stakeholders and foster a great partnership for us with a major SRH player in Ghana was a true indication of their commitment to this course. We were blown away. We also loved meeting so many influential people as mentors through the program.
How was your experience with the program so far? What significant progress have you made in your company since joining the NHA program?
Through the intervention of the Next Health Accelerator we have been able to partner with DKT which is a great opportunity. We intend to take full advantage of it to expand our portfolio and make sexual and reproductive health solutions more accessible. We also had the opportunity to redesign our mobile app and web platform to increase access to all available solutions. Finally, NHA has allowed us to expand our team so that we can operate more efficiently.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Universal health care coverage! Granted, this is a huge topic and to call it ambitious is an understatement. But it is of great importance. I envision a world where healthcare is no longer a luxury and people don’t have to be poor before they have access to quality care. A world where no one has to ask for money for a medical procedure, no matter how expensive it is. A world where medical equipment and expertise are ubiquitous.
Have you met someone who inspires you since participating in NHA?
Definitely the Co-founders and the program coordinator who have shown so much passion through their commitment and guidance throughout the program.
Do you have any last comments or advice you would like to share with your fellow entrepreneurs?
Have a goal, write it down, Set timelines, browse for opportunities that will help you achieve them and when you get the opportunity, be dedicated, disciplined and consistent.