Because we track locally-driven innovations in health-tech across the African continent, we curate a monthly newsletter to share our most “salient” learnings in more real time. We welcome submissions and suggestions. | February 2023
A positive start for African healthtech funding in 2023
Egyptian healthtech start-up Yodawy raised $16 million in a Series B round co-led by Global Ventures and Delivery Hero Ventures, with participation from AAIC Investment, Dallah Al-Baraka Holdings, Middle East Venture Partners, C Ventures, and P1 Ventures. Founded in 2018, Yodawy ensures easier access to health products for patients through an e-commerce platform, and digital solutions for pharmacies and insurance providers. The funding will drive Yodawy’s expansion across Africa and the Middle East.
Zuri Health, a Kenyan telemedicine start-up, raised an undisclosed funding round from Moroccan venture capital firm, UM6P Ventures. It comes after a strong year for Zuri Health in 2022 which saw it expand operations to Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia & Ghana through high-powered partnerships with telecoms operators. Zuri Health enables patients access health consultations and services through SMS, its mobile app channels and a WhatsApp chatbot.
Tanzanian telemedicine start-up Medikea received $50,000 in equity funding from The Baobab Network, a Nairobi-based accelerator for early-stage African companies. The funding follows Medikea’s selection as part of the accelerator’s latest cohort of companies. Medikea enables on-demand remote consultation and home-based diagnostics services for patients.
PharmaServ, a Nigerian digital procurement start-up, and Chestify AI Labs, a Ghana-based, AI-powered diagnostics service, were selected among 11 start-ups for the Africa Start-up Initiative Program accelerator, run by Startupbootcamp AfriTech and telecoms firm Telecel Group. The innovators will receive $18,000 in equity funding and technical support worth $750,000. The innovators will also have a chance to secure additional funding with a demo day pitch slated for May 25 in Dakar, Senegal.
African health agencies are adopting digital health strategies and solutions
Africa Union‘s public health agency, Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, is launching a new digital health strategy to accelerate its public health goals by leveraging technology. In addition, the agency will be aiming to support African nations to develop digital health strategies, and maximize synergies with private digital health innovations where possible. The move is a nod to the scale and impact of locally-driven, digitally-enabled innovations across the continent and could foster increased collaboration between innovators and public sector actors.
In Nigeria, Nasarawa state government has signed on supply chain start-up Medsaf to digitize local distribution of health products. Medsaf will leverage its end-to-end supply chain solutions to ensure efficient distribution of quality-assured health products across the state’s public health facilities, minimizing stock-outs and improving availability of medicines. (It is the latest example of Nasarawa state government’s shift towards digitally-enabled supply chain solutions after a partnership with LifeBank to digitize oxygen demand and supply planning across the state.)
More collaboration could also be on the cards in Nigeria with Chekkit (counterfeit drug detection) and OneHealth (online pharmacy) accepted into the Private Sector Membership Platform of the Africa Resource Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management. The membership opens up a new vista of potential partnership opportunities for both start-ups, as ARC_ESM plays a key role in enabling and brokering partnerships between supply chain innovators and government-owned drug distribution agencies across Nigeria.
A key partnership to entrench data-driven approaches in healthcare delivery
Nigerian supply chain logistics start-up LifeBank has partnered with benshi.ai, a Spain-based, health-focused data science company, to boost its data-driven analytics. LifeBank will leverage benshi.ai’s artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to deepen its ability to effectively support its 2,000+ hospital clients “through better mapping, predictive analysis of medical supply needs, and proactive delivery of crucial medical supplies.”
Zipline is stepping up operations in key African markets
Medical drone delivery giant Zipline has completed test flights in Kisumu County following a partnership to deliver medical products, including COVID-19 vaccines and blood products, to more than 400 health facilities across the county.
Zipline has also opened a distribution facility in Nigeria’s Cross River state to anchor its medical logistics operations in the state. The facility will serve as a storage and fulfilment hub for vaccines and other medical products. It is Zipline’s latest partnership with a state government in Nigeria, following previous agreements in Kaduna and Bayelsa states.
Efosa Ojomo, member of the Steering Committee of the Investing in Innovation program, writes in Next Billion about how foreign aid can be more efficient and impactful by backing market-creating innovations for sustainable development.
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