With an estimated 8 million tons of plastic coming into the surroundings 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 strains 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 individual per 12 months that the World Well being Group sees because the minimal for primary 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 resolve these issues. Summary:

What’s SOSO Care and what downside is the platform serving to to resolve in Nigeria?

SOSO Care is an inexpensive medical insurance platform that accepts money or recyclables as a premium to supply entry to medical take care of tens of millions of individuals in over 1,000 hospitals in Nigeria.

SOSO Care was based with the purpose 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 wouldn’t have entry to primary medical insurance, it merely implies that round 180 million individuals depend upon their very own assets to finance their well being care. And for low-income households and micro-entrepreneurs, sickness will be financially disastrous because it drains their financial savings, depletes working capital, and causes mortgage defaults and indebtedness. So this case helps to push tens of millions of individuals into poverty attributable to surprising monetary pressures within the well being sector, particularly individuals working within the casual sector, which makes up over 65% of the Nigerian workforce.

It is worse for ladies because the variety of maternal deaths in Nigeria is principally attributable to this lack of entry to primary well being companies. 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 might stop these deaths.

On the flip facet, Nigeria produces an estimated 32 million tons of strong 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 can be indiscriminately consumed and disposed of every day. Many of the waste is generated by households and, in some instances, native industries, artisans and merchants who pollute the speedy space. Most often, the rubbish blocks drains that breed mosquitoes, a vector of malaria that impacts over 300,000 individuals in Nigeria annually.

As an organization, we each view issues which can be enormous and catastrophic, even supposing they each current vital financial alternatives. We considered how we might finest use one downside to resolve the opposite downside 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 by means of waste recycling and the way it works?

By partnering with Hygeia HMO to cowl their insurance coverage danger, members acquire entry to provides by selecting a plan and paying on-line or by merely delivering recyclable supplies comparable to bottles, glass and plastic baggage equal to the premium to our companion brokers who promote the collected waste to massive recycling corporations as uncooked supplies. The cash generated from the gross sales can 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 large downside. SOSO Care allows underserved communities to learn 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 offered. 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 will be their staff, members or beneficiaries of sure CSR applications.

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

Effectively, we’re specializing in the disorganized casual sector. As a microinsurance supplier, our aim is to carry final mile medical insurance to tens of millions of individuals.

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

We cowl primary well being care together with inpatient and outpatient care. We think about on a regular basis main well being situations comparable to diagnostics, minor operations, being pregnant, accident, hospitalization, pharmacy and drugs, x-rays, and so forth. We don’t cowl earlier sicknesses comparable to 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 have now achieved in a brief time period and I stay up for the long run. We recycled a big quantity of plastics, added extra insurance policies and underwriters, together with life insurance coverage that prices simply 3kg of plastic per thirty days to guard customers from accident, everlasting incapacity or demise, lined 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 individuals. Our aim is to deal with 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 presently cowl and are there any plans for additional enlargement inside and outdoors Nigeria sooner or later?

Our service is lively nationwide for customers who pay on-line in money. We presently have waste instead award type 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 aim now could be 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 know-how to enhance the insurance coverage worth chain course of for our customers, both at fee or entry to care. Telemedicine is a crucial a part of our service to make sure extra individuals have entry to medical care because the world grapples with public well being challenges. We hope to supply extra strong companies to succeed in extra individuals.

Regardless of monumental assets, insurance coverage in Nigeria continues to be struggling a serious setback. What components do you assume are answerable for this and what might be accomplished to extend the quantity?

Folks do not belief insurance coverage and many do not even know the way it works. For tens of millions of others it’s an costly luxurious. These are the central issues of insurance coverage. Once more, it’s essential to cope with distribution in disconnected communities. I feel fixing the issue has rather a lot to do with elevating consciousness and in addition designing insurance policies that individuals would really want as a substitute of random generic protection plans.

Are you able to inform us in regards to the latest worldwide awards and recognitions that SOSO Care has obtained?

Our work has been acknowledged by the World Innovation Summit for Well being, UN-Habitat, UNAIDS, the World Financial institution and lots of different establishments. With the fitting 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 big milestone. How do you plan to keep up 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 individuals inform about rubbish. Right here, too, for low-income households, it’s a robust 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.

Lately, the insurance coverage panorama has attracted little or no funding attributable to financial points comparable to inflation, foreign money depreciation, and unstable insurance policies. What roles are anticipated of presidency, regulators and insurers in enhancing funding in insurance coverage?

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

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