Because we track locally-driven innovations in healthtech across the African continent, we curate a monthly newsletter to share our most “salient” learnings in more real time. We welcome submissions and suggestions.
Large private insurers & telcos are leveraging technologies provided by African health–tech innovators
Jubilee Health Insurance, one of Kenya’s largest insurers, is collaborating with health financing solution providers CarePay and M-TIBA to offer mobile-first, health insurance products. Through the alliance, Jubilee Health Insurance will aim to reach and provide affordable coverage to underserved Kenyans.
In Nigeria, telecoms giant MTN has partnered with CarePay to boost healthcare access among users on its network. The partnership will allow MTN’s subscribers access CarePay’s digital healthcare marketplace which lists offerings from 4,000 healthcare providers.
In Morocco, insurance giant AXA Assurance Maroc and telecommunications operator Orange Middle East jointly acquired a majority stake in DabaDoc, an online platform which allows users find and book appointments with nearby doctors. Having already gained traction in North Africa, DabaDoc’s service will now be extended to customers in Sub Saharan Africa.
African health–tech is coming under focus for investors and accelerators
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, investors are doubling down on betting on innovative health–tech start-ups on the continent. Latest trends show African health–tech start-ups are currently raising more frequent and larger investment rounds.
A recent notable funding round saw Nigerian-based diagnostics start-up MDaaS Global close a seed extension round of $2.3 million led by Newtown Partners, with participation from CRI Foundation, FINCA Ventures, Techstars and Future Africa. Having operated its network of tech-enabled diagnostics centers in four Nigerian cities since launching in 2016, MDaaS will now look to scale nationally. It has also launched SentinelX, a new personalized care product that allows patients pay a one-time fee for year-round access to a doctor.
Villgro Africa, a health-focused impact investor, has backed four East Africa-based health–tech start-ups — Damu Sasa (Kenya), Simbona (Ethiopia), DawaPay (Kenya) and Wekebere (Uganda) — with $170,000 in funding. While the investment in DawaPay was in exchange for an equity stake, the others were grants.
Webrock Ventures, a Swedish investment company, Doktor.se, a Swedish telehealth start-up and Healthforce, a South Africa-based health–tech start-up, are collaborating to launch a new telehealth venture which will initially launch in South Africa. The trio have raised $3 million for the launch of the yet unnamed venture which will offer on-demand consultations and chronic care management.
The growing prominence of health–tech innovators also extends to technical support programs. Health–tech companies accounted for a third of the selected cohort of the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program, with Chekkit, a product data innovator, GeroCare, a patient care provider, Nguvu Health, a mental health service, OneHealth, a digital-first pharmacy and Vittas International, a health financing platform, all making the cut.
Maternity health-focused social enterprise HelpMum was also selected for the latest cohort of the Google AI for Social Good program.
African health–tech innovators are notching milestones, and winning recognition
Helium Health, an electronic medical records and hospital management information systems provider, has finalized an expansion to Kenya. Since launching in 2016, the health–tech start-up has garnered 300 healthcare provider clients in Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.
Health–tech innovators mPharma and 54gene were named among the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers of 2021 — a global list of 100 early to growth-stage companies that are pioneering new innovations and technologies.
Three African health–tech founders were among the five recipients of the inaugural Women Empowerment Award by Bayer Foundation. Congratulations to Abimbola Adebakin of My-Medicines.com (Nigeria), Morenike Fajemisin of Whispa Health (Nigeria) and Angella Kyomugisha of Kaaro Health (Uganda).
Tracking innovations in health product distribution in Sub Saharan Africa
Read our 2021 report on Innovations in Health Product Distribution in Sub Saharan Africa and check out our online directory of African innovators deploying tech-enabled solutions in health product distribution.
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