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Entrepreneur in the Spotlight

Dr Ofrey ~ Gerocare

Entrepreneur in the Spotlight

With the advent of technology, things have become really easy, from transacting online, to book a trip abroad. Also the impact it has had on the health sector cannot be overemphasised. A lot of health information can now be found online, even treatments and preventions of diseases are no longer far-fetched. There is full access to physicians via certain mobile applications. One of these wonderful creations is GeroCare.

GeroCare is a subscription based health care service for the elderly. The company provides affordable, easily accessible and regular checkups by physicians. The idea was born out of the need for people show love and care from anywhere they may be in the world to their parents in Nigeria.

Meet Dr Ofrey

Being a medical doctor for more than 15 years, it is most likely for one to already be a consultant, consulting for different hospitals or own a private practice that caters for both young and old. Well, Dr Ofrey , in his own case, decided to go the other way by starting up an online health care services that only caters to the needs of the elderly. This was born as a result of the experience he had with his aged parents who felt neglected at the detriment of their son’s quest to make a better living for himself and his family. This is a common scenario in the world today as parents feel neglected by their children- who go about looking for greener pastures, thereby, unconsciously drifting far away from their parents.

Below is a brief chat we had with Dr Ofrey talking about his inspiration, health care services amongst other matters. / In our conversation with him, he addressed issues ranging from his inspirations, obstacles/ challenges, his greatest achievement and the journey so far:

Gerocare is a subscription based service for the elderly that entitles them a regular visit at home by a doctor to prevent deteriorations in their health and improve quality of life

What is GeroCare really about?

It is a subscription based service for the elderly that entitles them a regular visit at home by a doctor to prevent deteriorations in their health and improve quality of life while at the same time enabling their loved ones follow this care via mobile application, so no matter where they are in the world, as long as their parents are in Nigeria, we can cater for them.

What made you take a leap into entrepreneurship?

Well, I usually tell my personal story of how I came about this business. A few years ago, my father had a stroke, a year after, he had another one, someone would have thought because I am a medical doctor, I could have done something about it but I was not in the same place as he was and I couldn’t be in 2 places at the same time. And to make matters worse, my mum mentioned later that she had a high blood sugar; that wasn’t even the bad part, she said I had neglected them which was true to an extent because while going about my daily living, I had somehow forgotten about these people. So, it then occurred to me that what could be done to ensure that doctors see them regularly and they still remember we care- and that gave rise to GeroCare.

What obstacles/challenges did you encounter while starting up?

Our major challenge was and still is that Nigerians have a poor preventive health culture; they feel there is no need to see a doctor until they are ill, when in fact, it may be too late. So, there is a need to create awareness to help them understand that the reason why they are fine is the reason why they should now- it is cheaper, the person will have less recovery to go through and the quality of life will be maintained.

Then, the aspect of funding, GeroCare formerly called “the visiting physicians elderly services” was offline when it started a few years ago, and I was the only one managing it in Port-Harcourt. Although there were about 20 people to attend to regularly, we realised it wasn’t scalable and for it to spread its tentacles all over Nigeria, we needed funds, and that’s where Ventures Platform came in. As it is now, we have doctors all over Nigeria, making it possible, to serve a lot of people at once.

Does GeroCare cater for elderly in the grassroots level?

We definitely get to remote areas, but not with the same fee (₦6,300 per month) as that of the cities. Although we grow, we are looking at a platform whereby our services can be subsidized. But right now, accessibility and transportation have to be considered. That is why it is more expensive.

What is your most influential factor in your business success?

I would say it is our service to humanity. We are much more than a medical practice. We connect families back together. Saying we love our parents is not just enough, there is the need for action to back it up. We are creating emotional bonds.

What is your greatest moment of success?

We have quite a few of them, and we’d like to have more. And that is when we receive calls from people thanking us for the services rendered. That, for me, is greater than any investment.

You need to be focused and leave every other thing ~ Dr Ofrey

Any advice for those that would like to entrepreneurs?

It might sound cliché, but you need to have a passion for whatever you want to do. You need to be focused, leave every other thing- don’t do 3 or 4 things at the same time because it will definitely not work. The most important thing is to actually solve a problem. The mistake people make is believing that if they produce something, consumers will go for it, when in the actual sense, they have to need it before buying it. The bottom line is to make products people want.

Many thanks to Dr Ofrey for taking time out of his busy schedule to honour us with this interview.

A subscription to GeroCare is surprisingly affordable. Imagine paying as low as ₦6,300 for your parent’s medical checkup amongst other packages. It's a service any Nigerian should subscribe to. Give your parents something to brag about!

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