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. | May 2022
Telemedicine providers are leveraging AI-powered solutions to rapidly improve remote healthcare delivery
Nigerian telemedicine start-up LaFiya Telehealth has partnered with Canada-based NuraLogix which provides a contactless, smartphone-based vital signs monitoring service. The service uses patented transdermal optical imaging technology to analyze patients’ health indicators including heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels. LaFiya has integrated the service into its offerings, enabling access for patients in Nigeria.
LaFiya Telehealth has also partnered with Israel-based company TytoCare to provide patients with kits that facilitate more precise diagnosis during virtual consultations. TytoCare’s home kits include an AI-powered device for on-demand medical exams which provide doctors with key health data during consultations.
There’s already evidence of the effectiveness of TytoCare’s home kits as, over the past year, Ghanaian health-tech start-up mPharma has equipped pharmacies with the kits to provide in-depth physical examinations to over 8,000 patients as part of its Mutti Doctor telemedicine service.
In Kenya, telemedicine start-up Zuri Health has launched a WhatsApp chatbot to provide round-the-clock services to patients, including facilitating bookings for doctor appointments and diagnostics tests as well as medication purchases. The chatbot leverages the vast popularity of WhatsApp in Kenya and is available in English, French and Swahili.
Innovators are widening their scope for public health impact through strategic plays
Nigerian health-tech start-up WellaHealth has acquired Wellvis, a local telemedicine provider, to enable virtual consultations for users as part of its service offerings. Wellahealth has also expanded its micro-insurance health coverage offering to include chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and sickle cell disease.
Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has partnered with Kenyan online pharmacy MYDAWA to improve affordable access to insulin as part of a broader initiative to curb the impact of diabetes locally. The partnership will leverage MYDAWA’s licensed e-pharmacy services and logistics operations to enable patients access the medication at “significantly lower prices”.
Funding in African health-tech slowed down last month…
In Egypt, Rology, an on-demand teleradiology platform, raised an undisclosed pre-Series A funding round to fuel expansion plans across the Middle East and Africa. Founded in 2017, Rology’s cloud-based platform matches patients to radiologists remotely. Participating investors included Egypt Ventures, Sequence Ventures, AAIC, Cubit Ventures, HIMAngel, DAI, Viktoria Ventures, Waseel and Tawaref.
In South Africa, genetics start-up BioCertica raised $1.6 million in seed funding to scale its direct-to-consumer offerings which allow patients order high-resolution genetic tests to assess health risks.
…but an uptick can soon be expected as more sources for equity funding emerge
AAIC Investment, a Singapore-based investment firm, is raising $150 million for its second Africa Innovation & Healthcare Fund to provide growth-stage investment across leading ecosystems in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt, with a partial focus on health-tech start-ups.
South Africa-based VC firm HAVAÍC has also closed its $20 million HAVAÍC Universum Core African Fund to back early-stage start-ups in South, East, and West Africa. The fund already has a diverse portfolio which includes investments in health start-ups RecoMed and hearX, and is aiming to reach its target of 25 investments in the next three years.
The African Development Bank is investing €9.8 million in the Cathay-AfricInvest Innovation Fund, a pan-African venture fund which focuses on early to growth stage start-ups across selected sectors, including health.