With an estimated 8 million tons of plastic coming into the setting yearly, plastic air pollution is; as a result of it’s non-degradable, able to affecting land, waterways and oceans, ensuing within the demise of marine and land life, endangering the soil, emitting poisonous gases when uncovered or heated, and blocking drainage traces to trigger flooding and Erosion.

However, poor entry to well being care in sub-Saharan Africa stays the worst on the planet, with few nations capable of spend the $ 34 to $ 40 per particular person per yr that the World Well being Group sees because the minimal for fundamental well being care. Regardless of widespread poverty, a staggering 50 % of the area’s well being expenditure is financed by particular person contributions.

On this interview with Nairametrics, Nonso Opurum, founding father of SOSO Care, explains how the platform makes use of a “Trash for Well being” answer to unravel these issues. Summary:

What’s SOSO Care and what drawback is the platform serving to to unravel in Nigeria?

SOSO Care is an inexpensive medical insurance platform that accepts money or recyclables as a premium to supply entry to medical look after hundreds of thousands of individuals in over 1,000 hospitals in Nigeria.

SOSO Care was based with the intention of offering a typical answer to 2 improvement challenges dealing with Nigeria and most creating nations; Entry to well being and waste administration in quick rising city slums.

Since 85% of Nigerians would not have entry to fundamental medical insurance, it merely implies that round 180 million folks rely on their very own sources to finance their well being care. And for low-income households and micro-entrepreneurs, sickness could be financially disastrous because it drains their financial savings, depletes working capital, and causes mortgage defaults and indebtedness. So this case helps to push hundreds of thousands of individuals into poverty because of surprising monetary pressures within the well being sector, particularly folks working within the casual sector, which makes up over 65% of the Nigerian workforce.

It is worse for girls because the variety of maternal deaths in Nigeria is especially because of this lack of entry to fundamental well being providers. Nigeria has one of many highest maternal mortality charges on the planet and is answerable for about 20% of the world’s maternal mortality, though high quality entry to well being care may forestall these deaths.

On the flip facet, Nigeria produces an estimated 32 million tons of stable waste and round 20 billion pet plastics yearly, lower than 10% of which is collected and recycled. We’re not even speaking about bagged water packs which might be indiscriminately consumed and disposed of each day. Many of the waste is generated by households and, in some instances, native industries, artisans and merchants who pollute the rapid space. Typically, the rubbish blocks drains that breed mosquitoes, a vector of malaria that impacts over 300,000 folks in Nigeria annually.

As an organization, we each view issues which might be big and catastrophic, even though they each current important financial alternatives. We thought of how we may finest use one drawback to unravel the opposite drawback and launched SOSO Care as a low-cost medical insurance that accepts money or recyclables as a premium – which is dedicated to well being inclusion and environmental sustainability .

Are you able to inform us extra about SOSO Care’s method to fixing well being issues in Nigeria via waste recycling and the way it works?

By partnering with Hygeia HMO to cowl their insurance coverage threat, members achieve entry to provides by selecting a plan and paying on-line or by merely delivering recyclable supplies resembling bottles, glass and plastic baggage equal to the premium to our associate brokers who promote the collected waste to massive recycling corporations as uncooked supplies. The cash generated from the gross sales will probably be transformed right into a well being fund to fund the premium for entry to well being care in over 1,000 hospitals throughout the nation.

Promoting insurance coverage is tough as a result of belief is a big drawback. SOSO Care allows underserved communities to profit from our waste-for-health service in two methods: Customers can fund their very own well being plan by redeeming recyclables immediately at one of many SOSO Care assortment factors supplied. As well as, SOSO Care additionally works with municipalities, corporations or commerce unions to gather their recyclable waste in change for medical insurance for sure goal teams; these could be their workers, members or beneficiaries of sure CSR packages.

Is it appropriate out of your method to indicate that SOSO Care is barely aimed on the much less privileged or are there different plans that cowl the center class and excessive earners?

Nicely, we’re specializing in the disorganized casual sector. As a microinsurance supplier, our purpose is to deliver final mile medical insurance to hundreds of thousands of individuals.

To what extent does the “garbage-as-premium” cowl people and households? Does it cowl extreme well being circumstances like most cancers?

We cowl fundamental well being care together with inpatient and outpatient care. We focus on on a regular basis major well being circumstances resembling diagnostics, minor operations, being pregnant, accident, hospitalization, pharmacy and drugs, x-rays, and so on. We don’t cowl earlier diseases resembling most cancers or diabetes

How far have you ever been capable of ship in keeping with the platform’s imaginative and prescient?

I’m grateful for what we now have achieved in a brief time period and I sit up for the long run. We recycled a major quantity of plastics, added extra insurance policies and underwriters, together with life insurance coverage that prices simply 3kg of plastic per 30 days to guard customers from accident, everlasting incapacity or demise, coated in partnership with Tangerine Life and most significantly, an settlement signed with 3 states to recycle 12,000 tons of recyclable supplies in change for medical insurance for 56,000 folks. Our purpose is to give attention to the distribution financial system by creating extra recyclable assortment facilities each 500 meters to make sure that our customers recycle their waste conveniently.

What a part of Nigeria do you at the moment cowl and are there any plans for additional growth inside and outdoors Nigeria sooner or later?

Our service is lively nationwide for customers who pay on-line in money. We at the moment have waste as a substitute award kind in 3 cities – Abuja, Kaduna and Abia State – however hoping so as to add Rivers State by November. Since SOSO Care’s enterprise mannequin is scalable, our purpose now’s to lift funds and scale it nationwide. We even have plans to scale up in different nations, each in Africa and Asia, the place there may be an pressing want for well being care and waste administration.

How is SOSO Care utilizing Insurtech to enhance insurance coverage in Nigeria, notably in relation to telemedicine, telemedicine and telecare?

As an insurance coverage firm, SOSO Care makes use of expertise to enhance the insurance coverage worth chain course of for our customers, both at cost or entry to care. Telemedicine is a vital a part of our service to make sure extra folks have entry to medical care because the world grapples with public well being challenges. We hope to supply extra sturdy providers to succeed in extra folks.

Regardless of monumental sources, insurance coverage in Nigeria continues to be struggling a serious setback. What components do you suppose are answerable for this and what could possibly be executed to extend the quantity?

Folks do not belief insurance coverage and many do not even know the way it works. For hundreds of thousands of others it’s an costly luxurious. These are the central issues of insurance coverage. Once more, you must cope with distribution in disconnected communities. I feel fixing the issue has lots to do with elevating consciousness and likewise designing insurance policies that individuals would really want as an alternative of random generic protection plans.

Are you able to inform us concerning the latest worldwide awards and recognitions that SOSO Care has acquired?

Our work has been acknowledged by the World Innovation Summit for Well being, UN-Habitat, UNAIDS, the World Financial institution and plenty of different establishments. With the proper help, we hope to scale and replicate SOSO Care in Africa and Asia the place sustainable well being interventions are urgently wanted.

As a startup, SOSO Care has reached a major milestone. How do you plan to take care of this sooner or later?

Our future lies in specializing in reusable supplies as a bonus. We additionally rely closely on recycling for premium. As a result of we have seen it change the best way folks inform about rubbish. Right here, too, for low-income households, it’s a sturdy consider sustainability to cowl their month-to-month renewal. I’ve seen instances of our customers now utilizing their recycling to redeem a reward for his or her family members in one other metropolis.

Not too long ago, the insurance coverage panorama has attracted little or no funding because of financial points resembling inflation, forex depreciation, and unstable insurance policies. What roles are anticipated of presidency, regulators and insurers in bettering funding in insurance coverage?

I feel everybody concerned wants to know that insurance coverage can be an instrument of monetary inclusion. Governments and regulators have to put in place favorable insurance policies that may assist promote insurance coverage penetration in Nigeria. Additionally, underwriters have to discover a technique to create easy tips that serve public wants, somewhat than generic tips.

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