How 9 Nigerian Teenagers Are Changing the Healthcare System in Nigeria

October 21, 2019

The only thing better than a success story is a success story in the making. That’s the feeling I got when I spent some time with Team Neptune, made up of the nine Nigerian teenagers who won InterswitchSPAK’s inaugural “Innovation Challenge.”

InterswitchSPAK 1.0 Innovation challenge is just one segment of InterswitchSPAK’s National Science competition, organised by Interswitch Foundation.  

A while ago, they were just nine students; now, they are nine students creating a solution that could change Nigeria’s health system forever. I know what you’re thinking; how did they get there? Let me take you on a journey that begins with — like everything in school — a written test.

  • Students from all over the country competed in InterswitchSPAK National qualifying examination.
  • Finalists were grouped into nine groups of nine students each. The groups were named after some of the known planetary bodies.

Their task was not a simple one. They were asked to find a solution to any notable socio-economic issues in health care, public transportation and education, taking advantage of technology. Each team had some help from staff of Interswitch who volunteered as mentors.

  • Team Neptune, made up of nine SS2 students, tutored by Interswitch’s Princess Edo-Osagie, Inalegwu Alogwu and Abiodun Adebisi, won the challenge.

Their innovative solution permits anyone who’s registered on the NHIS to consult doctors via the internet, or USSD (for those without internet access). Like the superheroes that they are, the students also dreamed up a system that allows the patients, after consulting ‘internet doctors’, to get drugs from partner pharmacies using the doctor’s prescription.

Sweet, right?

According to the judges, Team Neptune ticked all the right boxes.

The two major criteria in choosing the winners were ideas and presentation. 

  • The jury considered the use of technology, what opportunities were explored, whether the idea was possible and how much change it would bring. 
  • For the presentation, the jury considered the delivery, creativity and demonstration of teamwork. 

Team Neptune worked for it and they got it. They won the founder’s prize. Since then, they’ve been lowkey working, with help from Interswitch.

Interswitch is keen on making Team Neptune’s solution a reality. Here’s what they did; the students were brought into the company and tutored for weeks by no other than the Interswitch head of innovation, Eghosa Ojo.

In those few weeks, they’ve built their health solution into a business, while also learning invaluable teamwork, strategy and planning skills.

According to Israel, who is Team Neptune’s de-facto CEO, the entire experience was great. He said, “I think the most important thing we’ve learned here is how to work as a team, how to combine ideas and approaches to create something strong and valuable. We’ve also had the privilege of being tutored by someone who has years of experience and is very patient and willing to pass on knowledge”

Team Neptune has now presented their business to the senior management team at Interswitch, and we can’t wait to see how far this goes.

Keep your fingers crossed. If anyone tells you how your health insurance package now lets you consult a doctor via the internet and buy prescribed drugs, you know who made it happen. Nine Nigerian teenagers will have made that happen and we have Interswitch to thank for it. 

You'll like this

August 5, 2019

Young people reading might not believe this but there was a time when you actually had to leave your house to do stuff like bank transfers or settle utility bills. It wasn’t that long ago too. Ten years ago, you had to fight your way through long lines in front of the PHCN office, bank, […]

Sponsored by

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.


Now on Zikoko

September 18, 2020

Ah, the English language. The multi-faceted, multi-use tool of communication that a few white people on a small island in the Pacific ocean forced on a country. It’s flexible and dynamic. You can joke with it, sing with it, and cry in it. You could even say the same sentences in differing situations and still […]

Recommended Quizzes

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

November 22, 2019

It can be very stressful when you’re trying to find the love of your life, but you only keep meeting people that are exactly like your yeye ex. To help you be more aware of that problem, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know the kind of people you are attracting. Take it to […]

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

December 5, 2019

We already tried to guess how much you have in your account and your current net worth, and we think we did a pretty great job (keep any complaints to yourself). Now, we’re going to try and guess your monthly salary based on your relationship with money. Oya, take the quiz:

More from Creators

Zikoko - Fill in the black
September 11, 2020

Blackness is an identity that black people all over the world sometimes struggle with. The irony, however, is that even though we all share this identity, we experience it differently because of the countries we live in. Spurred by the many different experiences she has lived through as a black person in Nigeria, the UK, […]

Zikoko - Panaramic
September 7, 2020

You have probably heard of Queen Amina, but you may not know her story as much as you know about Wonder Woman, Black Widow, or even Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty. And that’s a pity because Queen Amina was right there at the conference meeting when the guide for “Badass Female Hero” was written. […]

October 21, 2019

The only thing better than a success story is a success story in the making. That’s the feeling I got when I spent some time with Team Neptune, made up of the nine Nigerian teenagers who won InterswitchSPAK’s inaugural “Innovation Challenge.” InterswitchSPAK 1.0 Innovation challenge is just one segment of InterswitchSPAK’s National Science competition, organised […]

July 29, 2019

Nigerian entertainment is taking on entirely different forms from 90s evil stepmothers and ghosts wearing powder. One of such forms is digital art, most popularly in the form of animation, and we are so here for it. Ever since the Malika teaser video dropped, I have been fangirling at the amount of detail that went […]

July 19, 2019

Women always help women. Perhaps it was contained in the small print of the ten commandments, or as part of some sacred hadith, but it is essentially law at this point. From seemingly mundane situations like strangers helping to check if a sister is stained, or randomly hyping strangers in the girl’s bathroom to more […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.
February 6, 2020
Who doesn't want to find love? In our bid to help, we paired up a bunch of single Nigerians, sending them on an all-expense paid date, and interviewing them before and after they met.
January 27, 2020
Nigerians Talk is what happened when a motley crew of young Nigerians were put in front of a camera and asked a bunch of apparently random questions about life, love, money and more.
September 24, 2019
A group of Zikoko staff go on a road trip to every mainland country in ECOWAS West Africa

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.