Telenor rolls out digital health initiative in Bangladesh

Telenor has unveiled its first move to improve healthcare in emerging markets, with the introduction of its digital health service Tonic in Bangladesh.

By addressing local health challenges through technology, Telenor takes another step in the digital space.

Tonic is one of the first digital offerings to connect the dots across the healthcare ecosystem and address the full spectrum of wellness and health needs through a mobile-based integrated digital service. From prevention-focused digital content to phone-based primary care information to financial assistance (discounts and insurance) for hospital care, Tonic is centered around each member`s unique health needs and designed to provide incentives that promote greater health over the long term.

“Harnessing technology in order to address basic health challenges is an area of growing interest for Telenor, especially in countries like Bangladesh,” said Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group. “Health and particularly digital health has the potential of becoming an integral part of our development as the customer`s favorite partner in digital life, and there is no better place to start than Bangladesh. We have been present in the country since 1997, longer than any other Asian market, and furthering access to primary healthcare including insurance solutions, medical professionals, aspirational health content and discounts for hospitals is an extension of our commitment to empowering the community.”

Currently, Telenor serves more than 185 million customers across Asia. The mobile service provider has established a new subsidiary called Telenor Health to scale Tonic and other digital health services to other markets upon success in Bangladesh.

Tonic was officially launched today at an event in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the presence of both Health Minister Mohammad Nasim and State Minister of Posts & Telecommunication Tarana Halim. Offered in the first phase exclusively to the 57 million Grameenphone customers from today onwards, Tonic provides admission to a variety of free or opt-in services to all members.

Tonic membership provides four unique customer benefits:

1.Tonic Jibon (“Life”) is one of the first Bengali-language services to provide free high quality, science-backed information on how to build a healthier and happier life for members. Content is accessible through the web (, SMS, and Tonic`s Facebook page.

2.Tonic Daktar (“Doctor”) enables members to access high quality and immediate medical advice on basic health topics via phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week at an affordable rate of Tk 5 per minute, without the traditional barriers of distance, cost, or safety concerns. Tonic Daktar is designed to decrease the healthcare burden on the brick and mortar system.

3.Tonic Discounts offers exclusive discounts up to 40% on key services at more than 50 popular hospitals across Bangladesh. Via a quick SMS with the partner code to 789, Tonic members can access care at a lower cost.

4.Tonic Cash provides members Tk 500 if s/he been hospitalized for three consecutive nights or more, paid directly to a member`s mobile banking wallet. Members can claim Tonic Cash up to four times a year, and no diseases or medical issues are excluded. Powered in partnership with local insurance partner Pragati Life Insurance Limited, Tonic Cash serves to mitigate financial risk for Bangladeshi families as well as play a role in building credibility of insurance providers.

The launch of Tonic is the first official step by Telenor into the global health sector, and the services offered through Tonic underscore the company`s aim to develop a “digital front door to health for all”. The offerings are underpinned by Tonic`s affordable terms and use of digital technology mechanics in markets with high mobile penetration.

“We are excited to launch Tonic to the market and grow it further per member needs and alongside strategic partners,” said Sajid Rahman, CEO of Telenor Health. “We strongly believe the introduction of Tonic into the healthcare ecosystem will improve health care attitudes and perceptions by allowing everyday people easy access to aspirational information for preventative health, hospital discounts and expert medical advice instantly without prohibitive costs.”