Opian is an Ethiopian technology startup that is working to solve challenges in the health sector with integrated, research-based, and AI-powered solutions.
The startup is founded by Sammy Fekadu, Zelalem Gizachew, and Yonatan Gossaye in 2014 with an initial capital of ETB 500,000.
Since then Opian has been involved in various software development activities, with the main focus being developing healthcare software solutions.
Zelalem and Yonathan have been working in the health sector that helped them to understand the pain points of the sector and the need to solve them in a systematic manner that is sustainable and scalable to other African nations.
Some of the products and projects Opian has worked on include Forlab+, Uptym, E-radiology, MIMICII, and AI for PHC.
Forlab+ is the standardized, open-source web-based tool that allows to collect and analyze data and forecast laboratory commodity needs.
Uptym is a software solution that allows facilities to report, track, and manage medical machines by helping to analyze data and identify key areas for improvement.
While E-radiology is a tool that connects public health workers to a remotely located radiographer, by uploading imaging scans so the radiographer can read and interpret results.
The other two products ( MIMICII and AI for Primary healthcare ) which are under development aims to solve challenges in ICU utilization and efficiency and accuracy of PHC diagnoses respectively.
While developing these various solution, the primary challenge Opian has been facing is finding quality talent. Zion Yaynu, a project manager at Opian says, “ Schools in Ethiopia aren’t teaching high-level analytics and mathematics classes that are advanced enough to help local talents to compete with what the rest of the world is offering. Because of this, we had to outsource a few of our tasks.”
To address this challenge sustainably, Opian decided to focus on optimizing the talent they already have and increasing the capacity of their potential employees. Zion added, “ We currently have a mentor-mentee program in which we bring university students to work alongside us for three months which helps them to gain valuable knowledge, experience, education, and training in the industry.”
Other software solutions that have been developed by Opian to address specific clinical needs include: Laboratory instrument/asset management system, Paediatric ICU information Management System, HIS, LIS Health solutions for lab instrument connectivity, Web-based SLIPTA checklist, Mobile based KPI collection tool for labs, Gene Xpert connectivity solutions, Remote temperature monitoring système for transportation of vaccines
Despite challenges, Opian aspires to be a go-to healthcare software solutions provider in sub-Saharan Africa and further expand to Asia in the future.
Opian is a bootstrapped startup with no external venture funding. Some of the Opian clients include USAID, Chemonics, UNIDO, US PHARMA, and COPIA, and some of the projects they have worked on have been deployed in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Lesotho, Swaziland, Nigeria, Liberia, Cameroon, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Opian generates revenue in three ways. The first one is a subscription, where users of their software as a service products are billed a recurring payment.
The other two revenue lines are project funding from international organizations like USAID for deploying healthcare solutions across different markets and consultation fees for supporting various national clinical laboratories in annual commodities quantification, forecasting, and budgeting exercise.
Zion concluded by stating, “The biggest reward for us is being part of improving access to quality of healthcare in Ethiopia and many other African countries. This is just the beginning and we have a long road ahead of us but we are positive what we are doing at Opian will inspire others to take on a similar mission.”