Model & Strategy

Untold numbers of patients in Africa receive incorrect or incomplete diagnoses and sub-standard treatment because there is no way for local health care workers to connect with specialist doctors. Vula Mobile is an app that facilitates connections between medical professionals: local health workers use Vula (which means ‘open’ in SiSwati, Xhosa, and Zulu) to connect to specialists to get diagnosis and treatment advice, organize urgent transfers, and make appointments. An elegantly simple and effective solution, Vula is now being adopted rapidly across South Africa and has the potential to solve a critical bottleneck in the delivery of quality care across all of Africa.

Vula Mobile logo
At a Glance
Founded: 2014
Location of work: International, Africa
Vula Mobile
Cape Town, South Africa
An app that makes it easy to refer patients to specialists
Doctor in a white coat looks in the baby's ear with a device in his office.
William Mapham
Meet William Mapham

Dr. Will Mapham’s passion is improving healthcare in rural and underserved areas. As a junior doctor volunteering in rural South Africa, he realized that he and the front line health workers had no access to specialist advice that could help them diagnose and treat their patients more effectively. Later he realized that many people who ended up at the hospital could have been managed at the local health center if only the health workers could have been connected to a specialist. So, in 2014 he founded Vula Mobile, a mobile app that connects local health workers to on-call specialists to improve patient care.

Dr. Mapham is an ophthalmologist who previously served as the Vice-Chair of the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA), spent time in the field of public health using media and mobile technology for behavior change, and has published academic articles on the role of innovation and technology in improving healthcare delivery.


As of September 2019

  • Number of patients served through Vula: 161,574
  • Number of medical practices using Vula: 1,506
  • Number of Practitioners using Vula: 8,473
  • Number of Specialties on Vula: 23
  • Average response time: 15mins
  • RT @Craft_andDesign: Congrats to one of the recipients of our CDI Design Innovation Seed Fund! 2019 MTN Business App of the Year Awards wi…
  • Thanks to the Vula team! MTN Best Health App of the Year! @ Sandton, Gauteng
  • Excited for this evening... Vula has been nominated... @ Johannesburg
  • Team Vula and artwork at Steve Biko Hospital. Thanks Tshego and Chinazo @ Steve Biko Hospital
  • Vuyo, Orthopaedic Surgeon, and I at Beford Orthopaedic Hospital. @ Bedford Orthopedic Hospital
  • Kinda crazy.... this is a bus on the streets of Rome @ Rome, Italy
  • New and improved Vula Mobile team. Welcome to Mokgadi and Mooniq. @ Top of Table Mountain
  • The Sanofi film crew wearing surgical scrubs for the first time at Khayelitsha Hospital @ Khayelitsha District Hosp…
  • Elizma Anthonissen, one of Vula's first users. From working in a clinic, she has built up an incredible eye care ce…
  • Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Over 1,500 babies born here every month. Dedicated staff working hard to improve t…
  • Visiting Joburg? I recommend Lebo's backpackers in Soweto. We stayed in their self catering…
  • Wow. National Dept of Health talking about rolling out Vula across the country. Thanks to everyone for the support…
  • Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto is the third largest in the World! Met with the surgical dept this mornin…
  • At the Science Museum in London. Presenting at Sightgeist #OpenYourEyes #GlassesOn
  • RT @TactisAfrica: At the heart of Africa 2.0 listening to some of the most inspiring startups working to solve socio and infrastructural ch…
  • In Kigali, speaking at #Africatech
  • RT @WvdMoolen: #ehw19 digesting all tweets and impressions of last week’s #ehealth sessions, suddenly I memorised @vulamobile A low-tech so…
  • RT @AfricaTechSMT: Passionate about improving healthcare in the public sector, Dr William Mapham launched @vulamobile which consists of app…