Healthtech, or healthcare technology, is a fast growing industry in the healthcare sector. It aims to provide patients with faster, cheaper and accessible healthcare with the help of technology. The technology can help in delivery, payment, and development and commercialization of medicinal products.
Problem: In Kenya, one-quarter of adult deaths are due to Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs). The right medical treatment can prevent such deaths. However, receiving such healthcare is a challenge for the 9 million Kenyans living in slum areas.
Solution: Founded in 2012 by Melissa Menke, Access Afya makes healthcare convenient and affordable for residents of Nairobi’s slums through a chain of microclinics, diagnostic centres, and pharmacies. Through its Akiba ya Roho program, trained community members conduct mass NCD screenings in slums with a mobile app. The app guides users through a series of simple health questions. The community members take basic measurements like blood sugar and pressure. The app provides a health score, and those with high risk are referred to Access Afya microclinics, where clinical officers provide care and conduct continuous follow-ups.
Investor(s): Child Relief Foundation, CRI Foundation, FHI Ventures, Global Social Benefit Institute, Grand Challenges Canada, GrowthAfrica, ImpactAssets, Insaaan, MIT Solve, Moondance Foundation, Village Capital
Problem: Kenya is amongst the 10 most dangerous countries for pregnant women. 6000 – 8000 women die every year during childbirth. There also remains a lack of collective community knowledge for a safe and healthy pregnancy. 75% of Kenya’s population lives in rural areas, often far from well-equipped healthcare facilities.
Solution: Founded in 2015 by Bryan Okello, BabyMed is an integrated mobile health platform that educates and drives action via SMS and audio messages targeted to the woman’s stage of pregnancy and the age of child. The company will send pregnant women three messages per week, and their supporting companion one message per week. The messages fall into three categories: early identification of warning signs and risk factors, growth and development of the baby, and messages that foster empowerment and a healthy environment.
Investor(s): StartUp Health
Problem: The prevalence of visual impairment in Kenyan slums is almost three times more than the estimated national average. Refractive error is the leading cause followed by cataract.
Solution: In 2015 Dr. Amos Kibata established City Eye Hospital. The hospital’s inclusive model is designed around the concept of low cost and high volumes, specifically targeting Kenyans with limited incomes and no access to medical insurance. High-volume service allows the company to charge the consultation fee lower than the government facilities. The cost of small incision cataract surgery is USD 150 for patients who come on their own and USD 75 for patients screened through eye camps. A program to offer free cataract surgeries to outreach patients who cannot even afford the fee of USD 75 is currently in place. This approach has enabled the company to triple its number of outpatients within 18 months.
Investor(s): Acumen Fund
Problem: Accessible medical diagnosis is a struggle in Kenya. More than 500 million people in Africa still struggle to access, or cannot afford, a simple blood test.
Solution: Co-founded in 2019 by Emilian Popa, Ilara Health makes diagnostics in Africa more affordable, accessible, and accurate to bridge the diagnostic gap and improve the quality of healthcare. Ilara Health distributes low-cost artificial intelligence (AI) powered diagnostic devices to primary care doctors in peri-urban and rural clinics. The startup’s diagnostic devices are bundled with Ilara Health’s proprietary Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems which records patient data and helps doctors to provide effective patient management.
Partnership(s): Butterfly Network
Problem: Availability and accessibility of cost-effective and quality health care is still a dream for many in Kenya.
Solution: Meridian Health Group provides quality, cost-effective, accessible health care. Meridian is one of the market leaders in the provision of quality, cost-effective accessible health care in Kenya and the East Africa region. The centres are dedicated to providing effective and efficient care in a safe, friendly, and comfortable environment.
Investor(s): TBL Mirror Fund
Problem: Accessible healthcare is a challenge for numerous communities in Kenya.
Solution: Mhealth Solutions leverages technology for better health. The company provides around the close consultancy on the topics of software development, digital health, e-health policies, and public-private partnership. mHealth continues to be a strategic lead in delivering on successful public-private partnerships in the areas of response to public health emergencies and supporting health care workers to better deliver on health.
Investor(s): EyeFocus Accelerator
Problem: 274 deaths occur every day in Africa as a result of fake medication. Moreover, medicines are not easily accessible to many.
Solution: Mydawa provides end-to-end services and delivers prescription products safely to the patient’s door by a licensed Pharmaceutical Technologist. Furthermore, the unique track and trace solution provides confidence to customers.
Problem: Non-emergency healthcare needs are often not taken into consideration in developing countries.
Solution: Siha is used for non-emergency healthcare needs. It’s the most convenient way to get quality healthcare in Kenya. The company verifies the licenses and background of all doctors on the app. The pharmacies maintain the highest quality standard and deliver anywhere in Kenya.
Investor(s): Y Combinator
This research article has been produced by Investocracy, a company focused on connecting startups from emerging markets with Japanese investors.
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