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. | June 2023
New product launches and new expansion plans
EMGuidance, a South African digital health startup, launched PrescriBIT, a new digital prescription tool, to enable healthcare providers analyse medications and make prescription processes safer and faster. Operating in South Africa, EMGuidance provides clinical decision-making support to healthcare providers across the country and reports having 55,000 registered health practitioners as users.
WellaHealth, a Nigerian startup offering micro-insurance and affordable health coverage plans is looking beyond local markets: it has launched HealthSend, a service to enable Nigerians abroad purchase and fund health plans for family and friends back home through remittances. The plans will cover health insurance coverage, medication purchases and curated chronic disease management.
Egyptian teleradiology startup Rology has expanded to Saudi Arabia by acquiring Arkan United, a remote radiology reporting service. Rology’s cloud-based platform matches patients with remote radiologists, ensuring faster diagnosis of health conditions.
A global coalition is set to back high-impact African health innovators
Health Finance Coalition has launched Transform Health Fund, a $50 million pan-African fund to provide impact investment to innovators building scalable health solutions across Sub-Saharan Africa. The fund will provide debt and mezzanine financing to scale high-impact health innovators, with an emphasis on health supply chain, care delivery and digital health solutions. The high-powered coalition comprises of global development agencies and industry actors including Royal Philips, MSD, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, the International Finance Corporation, Swedfund, FSD Africa Investments, Grand Challenges Canada, U.S. Agency for International Development, Netri Foundation, Anesvad Foundation, Chemonics International, and MCJ Amelior Foundation.
Helium Health, a Nigerian health startup, raised $30 million in a Series B round to further scale solutions enabling health providers to digitize and manage their operations. In particular, the startup is aiming to scale Helium Credit, a financing service for health providers, with the aim of lending to 1,000 health facilities by 2024. Founded in Nigeria in 2016, Helium Health has expanded operations to Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Kenya and Uganda in Africa, and Qatar and the UAE in the Middle East. Investors in the round included AXA IM Alts, Anne Wojcicki, Capria Ventures, Angaza Capital, Flatworld Partners, Global Ventures, Tencent, Ohara Pharmaceuticals, LCY Group, Western Technology Investment and AAIC Holdings.
DataPathology, a Moroccan health startup, raised $1 million from Azur Innovation Fund to expand its network of laboratories in Morocco and beyond, to further its goal of addressing delays in diagnosis of critical health conditions. The Casablanca-based startup ensures faster diagnosis processes for users by enabling remote pathology consultations through a network of laboratories.
Innovators are getting selected for key technical support opportunities and awards
Google for Startups Black Founders Fund has selected six African healthtech startups as part of its 2023 cohort of grantees. With the selection of Akoma Health (Nigeria), HealthDart (South Africa), MDaaS Global (Nigeria), Susu (Côte d’Ivoire), Talamus Health (Ghana) and Zinacare (South Africa), healthtech startups make up nearly a quarter of the cohort. Now in its third year, the Black Founders Fund will provide selected startups with up to $150,000 in grants, extensive Google cloud credits and technical support.
Cameroon-based telemedicine startup Waspito was named winner of the Health Tech category at the Africa Tech Awards. The annual awards, presented at Viva Technology, Europe’s largest tech conference, recognizes innovative Africa-focused companies with solutions expanding access to healthcare in underserved communities. Founded in 2020, Waspito enables online consultations and medication delivery for users across Cameroon
Namibia is testing new technology to improve healthcare access for chronic care patients
Namibia’s Ministry of Health is leveraging Pelebox Smart Lockers to improve local access to pre-packed medication for HIV, diabetes, epilepsy, and tuberculosis patients. 19 smart lockers have been placed in health centres across the country so far. Developed by TechNovera, a South African health startup, Pelebox Smart Lockers are self-service, tech-enabled lockers placed at public locations to ensure patients can pick up medicines conveniently while avoiding long wait times at local clinics. For its part, the Namibian health ministry is hoping that easier access to medication, via the lockers, will reduce treatment defaults among chronic care patients.
Applications for the second cohort of Investing in Innovation are closing soon.
Investing in Innovation, a pan-African initiative to support African health supply chain innovators, is seeking applications for its second cohort. Selected startups will receive access to market support and risk-tolerant funding to advance their scale. Applications will close on June 26.
This research piece published in npj Digital Medicine journal presents a mapping of digital health ecosystems of all 54 countries in Africa in the context of endemic infectious and non-communicable diseases, showing correlations between disease burdens and technological advances, as well as highlighting areas to prioritize digital health technology investments.
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