12 companies changing the face of Health Care in Africa
As the world observes World Health Day today at a time when the whole world is facing a health crisis as we fight the coronavirus pandemic, here is a list of some healthcare companies that are providing innovations and solutions that can help carry us through this storm, and lead us again in a post-COVID-19 world.
We also believe that these companies are just part of a wider list of companies that we feel will change or are already changing the face of Health Care in Africa.
Currently available in 10 African countries, including Kenya Hello Doctor provides free essential healthcare information that is updated daily.
The app also provide access to healthcare advice, answers to health-related questions in live group chat forums, confidential one-on-one text conversation with a doctor (also in local languages), and the ability to receive a call back from a doctor within 60 minutes.
Sisu Global Health designs and commercializes medical devices with and for emerging markets. We develop patented, clinically proven, high-margin medical devices and are creating more than a product, we are creating a system for medical device commercialization in emerging markets.
The company launched its first patented product in Africa: Hemafuse, is a highly effective, mechanical alternative to donor blood. With a simple push and pull of a handle Hemafuse can salvage and recycle blood from internal bleeding in trauma.
Based at Nairobi Garage, Sisuu Global has raised VC funding from investors like Revolutions’ Rise of the Rest (Steve Case) and non-dilutive grants from groups such as USAID. The company is proving the commercial model for medical devices in emerging markets and changing the statistic that 80% of the world’s medical devices are designed for 10% of the world’s population.
This Egyptian health tech startup uses mobile to help people struggling with addiction. It’s a full-stack platform designed to address addiction’s complexity.
Not only do they help people quickly and discreetly access professional counselling, they stay engaged throughout the recovery process to prevent relapses. Their platform works by “connecting all stakeholders… in the addiction recovery process” including patients, guardians, treatment facilities, and supervisors.
In addition to exhibiting at Web Summit this year, TakeStep has already moved into the US market. The startup moved their headquarters to Albuquerque New Mexico in 2017 to help fight the state’s addiction crisis.
Flare is a digital response platform, that allows patients or hospitals to see available ambulance options and request help quickly. The platform’s Rescue system allows subscribers to call one hotline during a medical emergency, from which they are instantly connected to a large network of quality providers.
The medical team is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and ensures help within 15 minutes. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, the company is scaling up its presence in Nairobi and to other major cities in Kenya. By using Flare, people can easily track and communicate with the dispatched team until the ambulance arrives.
Ambulance drivers are equipped with smartphones and Google maps, with the exact location of pickup and directions that account for traffic. Like Uber, a percentage will be taken off each ride booked on Flare.
Globally other platforms offering a similar service include: Amber Health, an app for calling emergency services, in Delhi and a Dubai-based emergency services app, MUrgency which is now in seven cities in Asia and the US. Red Cross Kenya also launched its own app for emergency responses.
Ilara Health brings accurate and affordable diagnostics to rural Africans through miniature, AI-powered diagnostic devices that are integrated via a proprietary technology platform and distributed directly to primary care doctors.
Statistics show that 70% of medical decisions require diagnostics, like blood tests. But there are more than 500 million people in Africa who struggle to access or afford a simple blood test. But thanks to advances in robotics and AI, there are companies creating new diagnostics that are smaller, lower cost, and can work directly in the doctor’s office providing results in minutes!
Ilara Health partners with robotics and AI companies and integrate their devices into their technology platform. The company then distributes the equipment to peri-urban and rural doctors where 70% of patients live. The company also offers financing, which is very important for the doctor, as they cannot afford to buy the equipment up front.
The company then charges the doctors an affordable subscription or pay per test. They then continue to help the doctor grow their revenue by providing new diagnostics and services.
The young company seeks to provide affordable diagnostics to millions of rural Africans, while digitizing the African clinic and plugging in the innovations that make sense!
Currently, the Ilara platform is offering further informationCOVID 19 and how people can stay safe during this period.
Baobab Circle is an African grown health technology company creating health solution for Africa. With its best in class health service called Afya Pap, Baobab has helped to reduce diabetes and hypertension by equipping patients in the following areas; on patient education, diet, physical exercise, health monitoring, mental wellness and medication.
Afya Pap has both smartphone and feature phone versions, meaning it works with 100% of phones and all people with diabetes can user the app.
Keheala is a digital health platform that delivers behavioural interventions across basic feature phones and smartphones in order to improve healthcare access and treatment outcomes for patients in the developing world. Keheala addresses the non-medical drivers of disease – stigma, a lack of information, motivation and support – with demonstrated behavioural strategies from the social sciences (behavioural economics and psychology).
Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases in the world and the biggest health problem in sub-Sahara Africa. In fact, until recently, Malaria was ranked among the top ten causes of deaths in Africa by WHO. However, Code8 – a team of four young Uganda techies – created Matibabu, a smartphone app that helps to diagnose malaria without a blood sample.
Using a custom-made piece of hardware (matiscope), which consists of a red LED and a light sensor, it can pierce beyond the skin to reach the Red Blood Cells. A finger is inserted into the device to diagnose and the results are viewed via a smartphone. This provides users with their malaria status in the shortest possible time.
mPedigree is a phone-based anti-counterfeit ICT software application which allows pharmaceutical retailers and users verify the authenticity of a drug. This is done for free by text-messaging a unique code found on the product to a universal number.
The system helps to tackle the problem of counterfeit medicine by partnering with different pharmaceutical to create a shortcode on the package of products. These codes are typed in a simple text message and a message is sent to verify the authenticity of the product.
mPedigree is not only helping poor people who are vulnerable to purchasing fake drugs, it is also helping to restore confidence to the healthcare system.
Antara Health (formerly ConnectHealth/Siha) scales patient-centred health care for everyone by adding AI-assisted health navigation to make the hard parts of healthcare easy for patients and providers.
Patients, especially those with chronic ailments, enjoy comprehensive health and financial protection, concierge care coordination, and peace of mind knowing they and their loved ones have a champion in their healthcare journey. Antara Health is based at Nairobi Garage designed just for you to access care from anywhere
Sexual matters still remain a taboo in many African communities and that is why Sophie Bot was founded to drive open and honest conversations on sexual health, and we want our users to be comfortable to ask any questions they have.
Sophie Bot is an Artificial intelligence chatbot that is fed with verified information on sexuality and sexual reproductive health and relays the information to its users through conversations that are driven by text or voice chats. Her features include anonymous forums and digital chatbots built-in on the app, Telegram, Twitter (@misssophiebot), and web site (sophiebot.ml). So far Sophie Bot has been asked questions over 40,000 times from 4300 users in 150+ countries.
Based at Nairobi Garage, XELPHAhealth is a digital healthcare solutions company who believes that channelling technology to facilitate engagement – between providers and patients, between patients and their health – improves healthcare and improves lives. XELPHA Health, who also sit at Nairobi Garage, also operates Aphya by XELPHAhealth, the only mobile-first EMR solution able to detect and optimize for specific devices – tablets, smartphones, and computers. Aphya makes health information accessible by facilitating active participation and engagement between both patients and providers.