Africa is estimated to have a population of 1.4 billion people, making it the second-largest continent in the world. With the youngest population currently, the continent is projected to be the future of the global workforce in the next couple of decades. Unfortunately, Africa lacks a good healthcare system. While the region bears over 24% of the global burden of disease, it has access to only 3% of health workers and less than 1% of the global financial resources.
Several challenges inhibit the African healthcare sector. They include a shortage of health practitioners due to brain drain, lack of healthcare financing, nonchalant government, poor maintenance of health facilities, poor service delivery, circulation of counterfeit drugs, etc. Over the years, these problems have produced a dysfunctional and unreliable healthcare sector, increasing the continent’s risk of disease spread and deaths.
That has forced many Africans to embark on medical tourism overseas, causing losses in revenue for the African medical ecosystem. Last year, the Federal Government of Nigeria disclosed that Nigerians spend between $1.2 -$1.6 billion on medical tourism annually. As these trends continue across many African countries, African innovators are rising to the occasion, using technology to resolve some of these problems. Here is a list of unique tech solutions revolutionalising the African healthcare sector:
MedicHub is an healthtech product that manages the schedules of shift and permanent employees in medical facilities by automating schedules, tracking overtime, and generating timesheets for compensation. It is a product by Chiza Health, a Kenyan startup that leverages technology to demystify complex healthcare puzzles for medics, facilities and patients. Chiza offers a connected health ecosystem through efficient facility-medic operations, also offering increased healthcare access to patients.
O7 Therapy (Egypt)
O7 Therapy is a science-based digital platform revolutionising access to mental health services through its online platform and mobile app that offers online therapy. Based in Egypt, one of Africa’s Arab-speaking regions, 07 Therapy provides access to top Arabic-speaking psychiatrists and certified therapists, a referral network of specialised clinics and regional hospitals to support people suffering from depression, anxiety, addiction, and all common difficulties. It offers various therapy sessions, including art therapy, drama therapy, couples therapy, stress management, sex therapy, etc.
DrugStoc is a secure and interactive procurement platform (Online/Offline) that empowers healthcare providers- pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, and medical practitioners- with access to safe and quality pharmaceutical products through its consolidated supply chain system. Gradually, the startup is eliminating counterfeit and substandard medication circulation in Nigeria by connecting genuine drug manufacturers to healthcare providers.
Chekker is a digital lab test ordering platform that helps patients conduct medical tests in the best private laboratories with sample collection done from the comfort of their homes and digital results sent within 24 to 48 hours. Chekker reduces the wait time and hassle patients experience in hospitals or private laboratories when undergoing a test. Once an individual books a test, the Chekker medical team collects the samples and sends them to labs. Thereon, the lab results are vetted and interpreted by medical professionals before they are sent to patients within 24 – 72 hours.
DabaDoc is one of the earliest online medical appointment management platforms in Africa. It was founded in 2014 to simplify the process of finding doctors. While it gives patients a better appointment-booking experience, it also allows doctors to manage their appointments better. The Morroco-based startup has served over 8 million patients and has 10,000+ registered health practitioners. It has its footprints in other North African countries like Tunisia and Algeria.
Helium Health’s EMR/HMIS (Nigeria)
Helium Health’s Electronic Medical Record/ Health Management Information System (EMR/HMIS) is a comprehensive, intuitive, easy-to-use electronic medical record software that automates and improves medical processes for healthcare stakeholders in emerging markets. It is Africa’s largest provider of full-service technology solutions that have helped to advance universal health coverage.
Helium Health, a Nigeria-based healthtech startup, uses this EMR/HMIS alongside products such as TeleClinic, HeliumCredit, etc., to improve global health efficiencies and outcomes through data and technology.
Mutti is an online pharmacy providing access to quality and affordable medications and healthcare in Africa. It allows users to pay for medications in instalments while earning rewards.
Mutti is a product of mPharma, a Ghanaian-based pharmacy startup on a mission to improve the access and affordability of healthcare for all Africans. The startup manages prescription drug inventory for pharmacies and their suppliers. It further provides market intelligence to hospitals, pharmacies and patients.
ManageAm App (Nigeria)
The ManageAm app is a unique platform for diabetes self-management, awareness education, empowerment and engagement to help users achieve their short and long-term health goals. This app enables users to understand diabetes, manage type 2 diabetes, and engage in a healthy lifestyle, helping them make informed decisions about their health.
The ManageAm app is a product of the Self-Healthcare Empowerment Initiative (SHEI), a Nigeria-based initiative. The non-profit raises awareness of diabetes and empowers people living with diabetes with the right knowledge.
HPV Self-Sampling Kit (Nigeria)
HPV Self-Sampling Kit is a self-sampling kit for detecting the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer. This test kit is a product of Healthtracka, a digital health platform making medical diagnostics accessible and affordable with at-home lab testing and digital results. After samples are collected, usually in the mornings, users are expected to follow the instructions contained in the kit to immediately notify Healthtracka to pick up the samples.