A COVENTRY University student has launched a project aimed at providing an affordable alternative to commercial health insurance in his native Nigeria.
MSc Global Healthcare Management student Harry Tamunotonye is designing an online platform to allow people to share risk and cost between them to cover a basic healthcare package, giving those on lower incomes a better chance of accessing healthcare.
Coventry University’s Barry Gidden Fund – a grant which supports students with software and engineering projects – has backed Harry’s scheme.
He has one of two grants offered each year to postgraduate students with a passion for engineering or computer science and ambitions to bring about positive social change.
The supportive funding initiative is offered in memory of Barry Gidden, who did a Masters in Software Engineering at Coventry in 2008, winning the award for best overall student in his year. He died in February 2015 and after his death his wife and mother pledged to support students at Coventry University engaged in software engineering-related projects.
Harry’s wants to help the people of Nigeria to cope with and treat several illnesses including malaria, typhoid fever and stomach ulcers amongst others which are continuing to affect the nation.
He said he was shocked to win the grant.
“I have always wanted to work within health technology developing life-changing projects but having the privilege to embark on one myself is just unbelievable.
“I realised the family system in Nigeria is changing and without health insurance, one health issue of any member of a family can drag the rest under the poverty line due to exorbitant expenses in private and public hospitals.
“It’s a very real concern that could affect anyone.
“That fear made me start thinking about an alternative to commercial health insurance which has a low penetration rate in Nigeria and technology can be that bridge.”
Thanks to the funding he has received Harry now has ambitions to assemble a team, carry out further research and produce a prototype of his online healthcare platform within the next six months.