UNLEASH solution set to open 25 health care centers in rural Uganda over the next year

Author: Nicolas Laing, UNLEASH 2017 talent and UNLEASH+ 2019 talent, co-founder of OneDay Health

Joining UNLEASH in 2017 was serendipity, fate, or providence. My wife and I were eating chapati in our hut in Northern Uganda, when she shared with me an e-mail about UNLEASH. The program looked amazing, but deadline for applications was the next day! I bit the bullet, and stayed up all night filling the application. Before I knew it, I found myself in Denmark immersed in an amazing global team, focused on my life’s passion – access to healthcare.

I’d already seen the enormous need for healthcare in remote areas of Uganda, but our amazing team cultivated that seed into a social enterprise that made sense. We brainstormed loads of great ideas, so choosing just one was so difficult we put it to a vote. Hubs of remote health centers won by only 4 votes to 2 over a door to door diabetes treatment program. We didn’t even get through the first round of the UNLEASH competition, but our team cohesion and belief was so high we promised each other we would launch at least one OneDay Health center. As it turned out in just over a year we had our first hub of 10 OneDay Health centers up and running!

After UNLEASH, keeping the team together was tricky as we all had busy lives, and I was the only one physically in Uganda. We met a few times on Skype calls, but slowly team members dropped off due to other commitments. OneDay Health co-founder Pranav Sridhar however stayed committed, and we formed a great team which is still together 3 years later. While I was focused on details, he had the vision for growth and expansion. Where I imagined one health center, he saw ten. Where I saw obstacles, he saw opportunity. Even though we’ve been on opposite sides of the world, him in India and me in Uganda, our passion to see OneDay Health work out has kept us working well together to this day.

UNLEASH+ in 2019 was an amazing opportunity to get our OneDay Health team together. Our hub manager Emma Ochola travelled outside Uganda for the first time, while Pranav and I met up in person for the first time since UNLEASH! We were surprised how encouraging everyone was about OneDay Health. The caliber and passion of other UNLEASHers, our mentors and the experts was insane and I doubt we’ll be immersed in that much talent for a long time. We were fortunate enough to pitch on the main stage and were awarded 5000 dollars by the Hempel Foundation to launch 2 new health centers. Afterward, through the UNLEASH+ network we were nominated to apply to partner with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, and they provided our largest funding partnership yet – all we need for 2020. Our UNLEASH+ business plan and refined pitch were instrumental in helping us secure that partnership. It’s amazing what you can achieve in a supercharged UNLEASH week!

If UNLEASH 2017 was the launching platform, then UNLEASH+ 2019 was the fuel we needed to reach the next level. We’re now at 14 OneDay Health centers, have treated over 35,000 patients and are operating out of three Northern Ugandan regions. Tomorrow I’ll travel over 2 hours to Lira town to official launch there. We now have all the drive, funding and organizational support we need to have at least 25 health centers operating by February 2021, which I honestly never thought would happen – although I suspect Pranav was never in doubt.

Our dream that One Day, every Ugandan citizen will have access to high quality healthcare may be closer than we think.

Learn more at www.onedayhealth.org