Dr Sintieh Ekongefeyin, founder of MEDACCESSAfriq

Photo of Sintieh Ekongefeyin

Sintieh is a highly accomplished individual, holding a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree with honours from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, he is pursuing his MSc in Applied Digital Health at the prestigious University of Oxford. With a solid background in medicine spanning over five years, Sintieh has garnered extensive experience in various clinical settings and has actively contributed to the implementation of digital health technologies.

Driven by his experiences in clinical practice and the desire to bridge the gap between healthcare and technology, Sintieh established the Sintieh Research Academy (SRA). As the founder, he leads a dedicated team that focuses on training healthcare professionals in digital health research methods. SRA aims to equip professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to leverage digital health tools effectively in their practice.

Inspired by the research conducted at SRA and the tragic loss of lives encountered in clinical settings, Sintieh embarked on a new venture. He founded MEDACCESSAfriq, a pioneering company dedicated to connecting patients with healthcare providers in real-time and at their convenience. As the founder and visionary behind MEDACCESSAfriq, Sintieh aims to revolutionize healthcare access in Africa by leveraging digital platforms and innovative solutions.

MEDACCESSAfriq is currently in its early stages of development, with a growing team of passionate individuals working alongside Sintieh to bring his vision to life. The company aims to expand its reach and impact by providing a seamless and efficient platform that allows patients to connect with healthcare providers easily. Sintieh and his team are actively seeking strategic partnerships and investments to further develop and scale their ground-breaking healthcare solution.

What is your background? What made you decide to get involved in supporting entrepreneurs?

I have a background as a medical doctor, and for the past five years, I have been dedicated to treating and caring for sick individuals. Throughout my medical career, I have come to believe that health is not just the absence of illness but encompasses overall well-being. This realization has fuelled my passion for digital health and motivated me to become an entrepreneur in this field.

The primary motivation behind my venture into digital health is to develop technologies that enable people to have access to the best healthcare, focusing on proactive and preventive measures rather than solely reactive “sick-care” solutions. I strongly believe that innovative health technologies have the potential to support healthcare systems in providing universal health coverage, particularly in Africa where many individuals struggle to access adequate healthcare.

The turning point for me was the heart-breaking experience of losing a patient whose life could have been saved if we had access to innovations like Medaccessafriq. Witnessing the challenges faced by patients in Africa and the immense potential of health tech innovations to address these issues, I was inspired to take action. I realized that as an entrepreneur, I could make a significant impact on people’s lives and contribute to the transformation of the healthcare industry.

My drive as an entrepreneur goes beyond simply making a living; it is rooted in the desire to create an industry that brings about tangible and positive differences in people’s lives. I am passionate about building a company that focuses on making a meaningful impact rather than solely financial gains. By leveraging technology and innovative approaches, I aim to revolutionize the healthcare landscape, ensuring that individuals receive the healthcare they deserve and need.

Ultimately, my decision to become an entrepreneur in the digital health field stems from a deep commitment to creating a lasting and transformative change in the lives of people, emphasizing proactive and accessible healthcare solutions.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
In my view, entrepreneurship can be defined as the process of generating value by pursuing an idea or opportunity despite inherent uncertainties. It involves venturing into the unknown, taking calculated risks, and persisting even when faced with uncertainty and ambiguity. The essence of entrepreneurship lies in the willingness to embark on a journey without a clear roadmap, driven by the belief that the idea or vision holds potential. Entrepreneurship is going when you don’t even when you are not sure of what to make.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
First hand experience of patient loss prompted the idea.
Secondly, discussing with colleagues and potential users enabled proper identification of the pinpoints.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
Judgement in uncertainty.
Positive Thinking.
In my opinion, these are the core skills that will enable anyone thrive in uncertainty.

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
Making a difference.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
Oxford Nanopore, the track record is inspiring and most importantly the business is built on evidence based and is driven for impact.

If you had 5 minutes with the above individual/ company/organization, what would you want to ask or discuss?
3 things that worked for them at the start and 3 things they would avoid if given a second chance.

What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
Having someone buy your idea and take ownership as though it was theirs.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
Indecision, overthinking and over-engineering.
The need for getting the best product idea before going to market has been my greatest lesson.

How have you funded your ideas?
Personal funds so far.

Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
The Oxford Venture Builder has helped in shaping the idea.

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
The good thing about being here is being immersed in the plethora of innovations and businesses being created in Oxford.
The bad thing I would say is the imposter syndrome the environment puts on you.

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?
Oxford Venture Builder
Entrepreneurship Centre Oxford
Oxford University Innovation
Creative Destructive Lab

Any last words of advice?
“Do not go where the path leads, create your own path and leave a trail” RW Emerson