Articles from Babylians

Could Telemedicine become the new method of consulting?

By Alix Nadege Nahimana, Marketing Manager 


The worldwide COVID-19 crisis caused a lot of changes in the habits of people. Hugs, schools, gatherings, office-based work have changed to virtualized approaches. How about medicine? 

The industry of e-health has been evolving quite silently for the last few years, but it got a massive peak of interest in this COVID-19 period where people are under lock down and health workers are at high risk of infection.

The fear of going to the hospital and get exposed to the virus has prompted patients to explore other alternatives to access healthcare services.

Some of the offered solutions are as simple as providing platforms for doctors to conduct online consultations with patients from their own places, others are more sophisticated such as using artificial intelligence (AI).

The experience has shown that 90% of primary care consultations can be done remotely. Alex Turkeltaub, founder of Roam Analytics, a San Francisco-based health care analytics company said “the ‘in-person’ part just makes the patients feel better because they are able to look their doctor in the eye.”

Quoting Dr. Shivon Byamukama, the Managing Director of Babyl Rwanda; a digital health provider” People will use a product because they need it. If you invent a product that meets all the criteria you are suggesting but people have no real use for it or see no value addition, they will simply not use the product. Our product solves a real need – providing access to healthcare easily and conveniently. People access our service the same way they would access their mobile money accounts to buy electricity, pay school fees or send money. It is familiar and easy to use” 

Today’s trend is technology development from the patient perspective whereby the patient should be able to understand the drivers that impact their chronic condition to be able to manage it. The aim being to keep people proactively well rather than react when they become sick.

After the COVID-19 crisis, the new normal will be the use of virtual approaches in different domains and the industry of healthcare will not escape.



Body image: why should you mind?

Body image is defined as the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception. These feelings can be positive, negative or both, and are influenced by individual and environmental factors. Body image is very important as it influences many aspects of our lives.

Body image is believed to have four aspects:

·         The perception you have for your body

·         What you feel about your body

·         What you think about your body

·         Your behaviors towards your body.


Positive body image is when a person is able to accept, appreciate and respect their body.

The kind of relationship with one’s body has an impact on their physical and mental health. Positive body image is beneficial to many health-related indicators. A study shows that individuals with greater positive body image report less depression, higher self-esteem, fewer unhealthy dieting behaviors, lower drive for muscularity, and greater intentions to protect their skin from damage.

A person with a healthy body image has an objective, undistorted view of their body and appearance. They do not spend a large amount of time checking their body or perceived flaws, or comparing themselves to others. Having a healthy body image may mean that a person is able to engage in their social, sexual, work, or private lives without body image concerns getting in the way; or, it may mean accepting some dissatisfaction with one’s body image or appearance and engaging in life’s day-to-day activities anyway, despite this concern

Having a healthy body image may also include identifying the unrealistic and unattainable standards of beauty and thinness portrayed in the media, and avoiding making comparisons with these portrayals

Below are simple methods that can be used to promote a healthier body image:

·         Get familiar with acknowledging the parts of your body or your appearance that you like, not just your flaws.

·         Make a list of the functions your body performs that you enjoy, such as walking, swimming, yoga, etc., and engage regularly in those activities that make you feel good in your body.

·         Cut down or work towards stopping checking your body for flaws and comparing your body to bodies of others.

·         Access self-help materials such as books or podcasts that talk about building body acceptance.


Kwibuka 26

By Dr Patrick Singa, Medical Director, Babyl 


Every April 7th, Rwandans all over the world start a 100-days period of commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi that happened in Rwanda in 1994. The Genocide against the Tutsi took around 1 million lives in a period of three months. For the 26th time, Rwandans are commemorating the lives of many of our brothers and sisters, children, friends and other relatives who were murdered just because of how they were born. The commemoration is one way of keeping what happened in mind and never forget it.


Today, we are proud and grateful that Rwanda is a country of democracy and unity, thanks to our heroes, who were not afraid to give their lives for Rwanda to be where it is today.  

This year, we are entering the commemoration period in a time where the whole world is facing a challenging situation due to the outbreak of COVID-19. I wish all Rwandans strength and resilience, as we continue to abide by the decisions taken by our Government regarding the situation that we will be through.

During normal times, we would be with our families or our different communities and be able to gather in order to remember our loved ones. But not being able to do so only increases the pain in our hearts. For some of us, the gatherings were part of healing. Sharing our history is the therapy some of us need. But we understand we can’t change some situations and strength will be our portion as it has always been.


 Not being able to gather as usual might affect us in different ways. That is why we also need to take care of our mental health.

Although I can’t dictate on how to spend your time of commemoration, the following can help you stay mentally healthy:

·         Talk to someone about your feelings and share your thoughts: social isolating might make you feel alone. Try to call a friend or relative and have a talk about how you feel.

·         Seek professional help: you can talk to a specialist in mental health and get help. Community health workers are also near us for a talk and guidance.  

·         Exercise if you can: being active even at home will help you to stay in good shape physically and mentally. 

·         Practice self-care: simple actions such as establishing a routine for sleeping and waking up, keeping a healthy diet, staying hydrated, praying, meditating, can help you go through this tough period.


Together, we Remember, Unite, and Renew.


May we never forget how far we have come, how strong we are, and leave that legacy to our future generations. 


By Dr Darlene Bigirumwami, GP, Babyl

Since December 2019, the world has observed an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China and recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. As of March 31, 2020, more than 783, 360 cases have been reported globally, resulting in more than 37,203 deaths. In Rwanda, 75 cases have been confirmed by the same date and no death has been reported.

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

In Rwanda, despite the presence of the virus in the country, many measures have been taken to avoid its spread, encouraging people to social distance as much as possible, and frequently wash their hands with clean water and soap or hand sanitizer. Schools, places of worship, and other potential crowded places have been closed and people are required to work from home. Boarders have been temporarily closed as well, and movements within the country have been limited to vital activities and travels.

Different channels in the country, starting from the Ministry of health, provide up-to-date and relevant information on how to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Symptoms and prevention

According to WHO, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pain, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea or difficulty in breathing. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking simple precautions:

·         Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with clean water and soap or alcohol-based hand rub

·         Maintain at least 1 meter distance between yourself and someone who is coughing or sneezing

·         Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

·         Cover your mouth with a bent elbow when you cough or sneeze.

·         Stay home if you feel unwell.


For people in Rwanda, call 114 for assistance if you have any or all of the symptoms listed above.


In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.   

For Primary health care, for Universal Health care, Digital Health presents a potential compliment 

By Geofrey Beingana, Quality Assurance Manager, Babyl 

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

UHC is firmly based on the WHO constitution of 1948 declaring health a fundamental human right and on the Health for All agenda set by the Alma Ata declaration in 1978. UHC cuts across all of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and brings hope of better health and protection for the world’s poorest.

This definition of UHC embodies three related objectives:

  1. Equity in access to health services – everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them;
  2. The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services; and
  3. People should be protected against financial-risk, ensuring that the cost of using services does not put people at risk of financial harm.

Universal healthcare does not imply mean coverage for all people for everything, only that all people have access to healthcare. Some universal healthcare systems are government funded, while others are based on a requirement that all citizens purchase private health insurance. Universal healthcare can be determined by three critical dimensions: who is covered, what services are covered, and how much of the cost is covered

But the most important and often left out is the manner under which the healthcare service is often delivered to the population in timely, affordable manner and of an acceptable quality.

Digital Health on the other hand presents with potential solutions to challenges regularly faced in trying to deliver the goals of Universal Health Coverage and Primary Health Care.

With introduction of modern diagnostics, Digitalized Molecular drug design, Automation, Artificial intelligence, telehealth and so and so forth, Health care delivery has been made easy on both the sides of the population and the provider as well.

Digital health has added fragrance to healthcare in ensuring key aspects of Universal health care thereby making health service delivery: 

  • Effective, delivering health care that is adherent to an evidence base and results in improved health outcomes for individuals and communities, based on need;
  • Efficient, delivering health care in a manner which maximizes resource use and avoids waste;
  • Accessible, delivering health care that is timely, geographically reasonable, and provided in a setting where skills and resources are appropriate to medical need
  • Acceptable/patient-centred, delivering health care which considers the preferences and aspirations of individual service users and the cultures of their communities;
  • Equitable, delivering health care which does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, geographical location, or socioeconomic status;
  • Safe, delivering health care which minimizes risks and harm to service users.(WHO, 2006)


  1. ISO.(2015). Quality management Principles. Geneva: ISO Central Secretariat. Retrieved from
  2. McMahon, T. ( 2012, FEBRUARY 14). How Do You Define Quality.
  3. Smith, K. W. (2016). HealthCare Managment. (2nd, Ed.) Maidenhea: GBR: Open University Press.
  4. WHO. (2006). Quality of care. Geneva: WHO press. Retrieved from