Innovators are deploying AI solutions to advance cancer care and maternal health

Written By

  • Yomi Kazeem
  • Zillah Waminaje

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. 

Innovators are deploying AI solutions to advance cancer care and maternal health

Uganda-based healthtech, CHIL Femtech Center, is testing an artificial intelligence (AI) powered solution to boost cancer care awareness among patients. The solution allows patients to share pictures of cancer medication with a chatbot and receive audio-visual information on the drug and its side-effects in 12 African languages. The tool is aimed at enhancing cancer treatment by empowering patients in underserved areas to make informed health decisions and better manage medication usage and risks.

Hurone AI, has partnered with the Rural & Urban Private Hospitals Association of Kenya (RUPHA) to enhance precision cancer care across the country. The collaboration will see Hurone AI integrate its AI-powered software into RUPHA’s electronic health record system and empower oncologists with tools to tailor treatments appropriately, including valuable data on treatment protocols and potential severe side effects. Hurone AI will also support the Kenyan Ministry of Health’s long-term goals in modernizing health record management across the country by improving cancer care data interoperability.

Jacaranda Health, a Kenya-based maternal health-focused non-profit, has been selected as part of Google’s first ever generative AI accelerator—a six-month program supporting the development of high-impact applications of generative AI in various sectors, including healthcare. In addition to technical training, workshops, mentors and pro bono support from a dedicated AI coach, Google is providing over $20 million in funding support to the 21 organizations in the cohort. Based in Kenya, Jacaranda Health aims to scale its digital maternal health services to women in underserved communities by leveraging natural language processing technologies trained in multiple African languages.

Biotech innovations are getting critical equity and grant support to drive scale…

Vitruvian MD, a South African biomedical and diagnostics startup received additional undisclosed investment from Verge HealthTech Fund, one of the company’s previous investors. Founded in 2020, VitruvianMD provides camera hardware that transforms analogue microscopes into digital ones, and ensure access to digital diagnostics tools, reducing turnaround times and the cost of logistics.

Revna Biosciences, a Ghana-based biotechnology startup received grant funding from develoPPP Ventures to advance its work to bridge gaps in global genomics data. With Africa accounting for only 3% of global genomic data, Biosciences is accelerating diversity by increasing access to advanced molecular diagnostics in Africa, supporting local clinical trials and building a biobank. Its long-term goal is to ensure the inclusion of African patients’ data in the creation and advancement of precision medicine.

…and a new market entrant is scaling by acquisition

Still in Ghana, Rivia, is scaling its solutions suite with the acquisition of Waffle, a local software provider offering inventory and information management solutions to hospitals. Launched in Ghana in January 2024, Riva supports clinics through loans for infrastructure upgrades and inventory, and a hospital management system that streamlines patient records, lab and pharmacy operations, and administrative tasks. Waffle’s software (now rebranded as RiviaOS) will  be leveraged to accelerate Rivia’s goal of digitizing its network of primary healthcare clinics.

An ambitious goal to scale access to pediatric care in Kenya

Daktari Smart, a childcare telemedicine program by Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital is expanding its reach, in partnership with the M-Pesa Foundation, to provide specialized pediatric care to 32,000 children across five Kenyan counties. The program ensures access to care for minors suffering from rare non-communicable diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Since its launch in 2021, Daktari Smart has reached 10,000 children, and has an ambitious long-term target of providing healthcare to five million children, and drive a reduction in childhood mortality rates.

Recommended Read

This Devex feature piece dives into Rwanda’s data-driven approach to malaria control research, building intelligence to identify high-burden areas for increased intervention and understand the impact of climate change on the spread on one of the continent’s deadliest diseases.

Spread the word! Share this with African health-tech innovators, donors, investors, and enthusiasts within your network – and tell them to sign up!

If you know of an organization which offers funding or support to businesses in African health tech, please let us know. Our team evaluates each support opportunity to share with our community of innovators. 


Sign up to receive our monthly newsletters.


Latest Newsletters

Register Your Interest

Our events attendees are carefully curated to advance action. Register below if you’re interested in joining us.

Event Interest

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.