In Africa, healthcare access remains a major challenge despite the numerous e-health solutions being developed. The issue is mainly caused by financial problems. The low-cost insurance policy being developed by the two partners aims to address that situation. 

Kenyan fintech Power Financial Wellness (PFW) recently announced a partnership with insurtech Turaco. According to a release dated April 26, the partnership aims to offer low-cost insurance -as low as US$2 monthly subscriptions- to African gig and salaried workers.

Power is dedicated to providing a marketplace of financial services to working individuals across Africa. With Turaco, we now have a partner that helps digitize tailor-made insurance offerings. With Power’s ability to finance premiums and collect from workers, this partnership will help scale the delivery of affordable insurance to working individuals in Kenya and beyond,” commented PFW CEO Brian Dempsey.  

PFW clients can subscribe to the insurance policies once Turaco’s API is integrated into the fintech’s digital platforms. PFW offers payment and loan services (insurance services will soon start with the API integration). As for Turaco, it offers low-cost claim settlement packages in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, and the United States of America.  

In addition to health insurance, PFW clients have access to other insurtech products. These include credit life insurance, disability, theft, and a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient insurance. 

Some African countries have a national health insurance scheme but only a small portion of the population is covered. According to the World Health Organization, while 91% of the population in Rwanda is covered by the national health insurance scheme, 33% is covered in Ghana and only 3% in Nigeria

Adoni Conrad Quenum






we are tech Africa

Published in Finetech

In Africa, doctor density is below the World Health Organization’s recommendations. To alleviate the issue, startups are developing local e-health solutions. 

Waspito is an e-health platform set up by a Cameroonian start-up that connects patients with doctors for live video consultations. Founded in 2020, by Jean Lobé Lobé (photo), Waspito successfully completed a US$2.7 million funding round, in March 2022, to support its growth and expand into Côte d’Ivoire. The seed fund was contributed by notable investors like Launch Africa Ventures, Newtown Partners, and Orange Ventures.

We are proud of the pool of investors we were able to get on this round. Their experience and network will add value to our team as we continue this journey to solving Africa’s health care accessibility and affordability problem,” said Jean Lobé Lobé commending the investment. 

According to the founder and CEO, Waspito plans to enter a dozen countries in the next four years. 

The platform offers its services through internet but it also has a mobile app available on PlayStore and AppStore. Users can book consultations with doctors and access a list of available pharmacists and laboratories. The aim is to allow users to quickly get medication or even get them delivered to their doorsteps and perform lab tests after the online consultations. It also has a forum managed by doctors. Through that forum, users can anonymously submit their problems to get help from doctors.  

Currently, the platform claims more than 15,000 patients served. In 2020, it was one of the seven winners of Orange Ventures' MEA Seed Challenge. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

Her startup was founded to save Egyptians from her difficult experiences. Combining her digital marketing skills with her passion to serve the population, she developed a mobile app used by 75,000 people in Egypt. 

Doaa Aref (photo) is the co-founder and CEO of Chefaa, a healthcare startup she launched with Rasha Radi in 2017. Chefaa allows users to discuss with pharmacists, through a mobile app available on AppStore and Playstore, scan their medical prescriptions to order the drugs they want to buy, and get them delivered to their doorsteps.  

Currently, the startup claims 75,000 users in Egypt. To develop its services and enter new markets, Doaa Aref launched a fundraising operation that brought in several investors including Newtown Partners, Global Brain, and GMS Capital Partners. The amount raised was not disclosed but Doaa Aref is confident about the impact the funds would have on Chefaa. 

 “I believe this venture round is pivotal not because it will only help us scale our validated business models, but because it will also help us capitalize on untapped market opportunities. We are confident Chefaa will dominate over a much larger market share in the next two years,” she said. 

Chefaa was created to save users from the tribulations Doaa Aref went through at one point in her life. Indeed, when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, she had a hard time traveling to get her medications, as she was living alone, and even accurately following the treatment plan. 

"I passed through many problems, I really didn’t know how to handle medicine. And when I got better and started to do some market research I found out that everyone literally has these problems. We need a solution. That’s how I got the idea for Chefaa," she explained. 

No one would have guessed Doaa Aref would go into the healthtech industry. In 2008, she graduated from Tanta University with a BSc in Agricultural Sciences. In 2010, she enrolled in Alexandria University where she got her diploma in quality control in 2012. In 2013, she got her  MBA in business Administration and Management from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Shipping. Despite her various diplomas, she was more attracted to the marketing world.  

From 2006 to 2012, all through her university studies, she held various marketing positions for firms like  Mega Trade Co, Radwty For Advertising Services, Just4arab E-Magazine, and Maven Agency For Advertising Services. In 2015, she decided to get proper digital marketing training with the Digital Marketing Training Center, where she got a social media diploma. Up till her sickness and subsequent creation of Chefaa, she held digital marketing positions with Seven Agency, Mnbaa, Speakol, and Stylish Eve, among others. 

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

Dumisani Kaliati has been working since 2015 to improve the living conditions of rural populations in Malawi. This year, his expertise helped the UNICEF speed up disaster assessment and assistance planning. 

Dumisani Kaliati (photo) is an Information Science and Technology graduate from the University of Malawi. An experienced hardware and software developer and computer-aided designer, he founded MicroMek, a drone manufacturing startup at the age of 21.  To manufacture its drones, MicroMek uses 3D printed parts and recycled materials. Dumisani Kaliati is also the co-founder of Peza, a platform connecting informal service providers with potential clients. 

He got the MicroMek idea in the third year of his information science and technology study after noticing how difficult it was for people living in remote areas to access healthcare institutions. He then developed a medication reminder, which was still not addressing the challenges faced by rural populations. In 2016, while the Malawian government was vulgarizing drone usage, he decided to leverage the technology to address the challenges identified. 

In 2017, he was trained on how to use drones during a workshop organized by UNICEF and Virginia Tech University. Since then,  in collaboration with Virginia Tech University's Unmanned Systems Lab, he has been developing low-cost drones for remote delivery.  Called EcoSoar, the drones are designed to deliver drugs and medicines, blood samples, and vaccines to hospitals. Beyond facilitating access to healthcare, the startup also helps reduce the times needed for the delivery of diagnostics, vaccines, and medications. It also manufactures drones for environmental and aerial data collection.  

According to Dumisani Kaliati, the sensing drones can travel up to 30 km for aerial mapping, while the ambulance drones can carry 1 kg of medicines and samples.  Depending on the purpose, their production cost averages US$350 and $430 per unit.  Currently, the entrepreneur is working on drones that can fly longer distances and carry up to 6 kg of medicine and other health products.

In February 2022, Dumisani Kaliati's expertise was solicited by the UNICEF for the assessment of damages caused by Tropical Cyclone Ana in late January. The disaster wreaked havoc in Southern Malawi causing huge human, material, and agricultural losses.  

Using his drones, the entrepreneur sped up the assessment, ultimately assisting in the planning of response activities. 

With MicroMek, he garnered several awards, including the Malwai ICT Innovation Award's Top Entrepreneurship category in 2017. A year later, he was selected for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, where he had the opportunity to train in business and entrepreneurship at Northwestern University in Evanston, USA. In late March 2022, he took part in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress that brings together entrepreneurs from over 170 countries. The congress was an opportunity for Dumisani Kaliati to showcase Malawian expertise to the world. 

Aïsha Moyouzame  

Published in TECH STARS

In Africa, medical density is currently below the World Health Organization’s recommendations. In recent years, startups have sprung up using technology to fill health offers. 

E-health platform Altibbi will introduce drug delivery and virtual consultation services in Egypt. The move follows the announcement, on March 28, 2022, of a successful US$44 million series B round led by investors like Foundation Holdings and Hikma Ventures. 

The health tech founded in 2008, in Jordan, aims to digitalize the whole medical procedure allowing users to get checked by physicians, receive prescriptions, and lab test interpretations online. It wants to capitalize on the low competition in the market due to tough regulations. 

The regulatory system is an ally of ours as, after so many years, we have managed to crack it. We are actually today the most licensed digital health company in the Arab world (...)We’re licensed in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. We’re working with the government as part of a round table to regulate telehealth and digital health platforms,” says Jalil Allabadi (Photo, left), founder and CEO of Altibbi.  

In addition to its web platform, Altibbi has a mobile app, available on App Store, Play Store, and AppGallery. To access the over 10,000 doctors available daily on the platform, users must register on the platform, then log in using their phone numbers and a verification code. In 2013, Altibbi received the top prize in the health category during the Arab E-Content Award in Bahrain.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Tech

French telecom group Orange announced, on Wednesday, the launch of a new telemedicine service. Dubbed DabaDoc Consult, it is the outcome of a partnership between the French telecom group and DabaDoc, the Moroccan start-up specializing in medical appointment management.

Launched in Morocco in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic was raging, DabaDoc virtual medical consultation booking will expand into all of the Orange African markets with DabaDoc Consult.

With DabaDoc Consult, the African diaspora can book medical consultations for their loved ones residing in their home countries. For that purpose, a "simple and fluid process was developed jointly by the DabaDoc and Orange Link teams," Orange group explains.

"The customer, from the diaspora, wishing to offer a DabaDoc Consult must connect to the Orange ‘Country Transfer’ platform, choose the type of consultation and pay with his/her bank card. The beneficiary will instantly receive a code to pay for the virtual consultation," it adds.

DabaDoc was created by Zineb Drissi Kaitouni (photo) and Driss Drissi Kaitouni. The mobile platform launched in 2014 has already facilitated access to health specialists for thousands of people in Morocco,  Tunisia, and Algeria.

To book an appointment with a health specialist through DabaDoc, the requester must first register on the platform, then select the type of medical service being requested, fill in the city, select the health specialist close to the selected area, and choose a time slot.  Once the appointment is validated, a confirmation message indicating the date and time of the appointment is sent by email and SMS to the requester.

In May 2015, the platform became fee-based for health professionals who would like to offer their services. According to Zineb Drissi Kaitouni, the subscription fees are "450 dirhams [122.5 USD] for one month, 300 dirhams/month for a 3-month subscription, and 225 dirhams/month for one year" subscription.

In April 2021, Orange Africa and the Middle East acquired a stake in the start-up through a fundraising operation. The telecom company immediately contributed its technological expertise and payment solutions to develop digital solutions that quickly proved beneficial for the entire African healthcare ecosystem.

DabaDoc, available in French and Arabic, has already received numerous awards such as the third prize for the best start-up in Morocco at Seedstars World in May 2014. It also won the top prize for  GIS, a competition organized by the US Department of State in October 2014.

In 2016, its co-founder Zineb Drissi Kaitouni was named one of the top three female entrepreneurs in Africa.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Tech

Burkinabe startup AINO Digital SAS has developed a multi-faceted digital identification bracelet. Called SAUVIE, the device is equipped with a QR code where personal health information and contacts of important people to reach in case of emergency are stored.

With this initiative presented to the public on February 23, AINO Digital SAS wants to ensure that everyone has their personal health information in case of emergency. Scarlett Zongo (pictured, left), CEO of AINO Digital SAS, explains that the solution is "an application for first responders such as firefighters and doctors. Thanks to SAUVIE, the patient's relatives are alerted of the nature of the emergency and the health facility where he or she is being treated". AINO Digital SAS says that for personal safety, the QR codes are encrypted and can only be read by firefighters and health workers using a special device.

AINO Digital SAS donated nine bracelet models to the public when presenting the device. The basic annual cost of the SAUVIE system is $6.83 plus the price of the wristband on which it is mounted (between $1.2 and $1.71). Three billable options are also available with the basic subscription: Alerting the employer in case of emergency ($8.54), Alerting the insurance company ($3.42), and Alerting a relative ($1.71). If the bracelet is stolen, lost, or damaged, the owner must report it to AINO Digital SAS so that the QR code can be canceled. Another one is automatically generated and integrated into the new bracelet.

Supported by Orange Burkina Faso, which does not charge any data fees when reading the QR code, the startup is working with the Ministry of Health to get the solution to be used in health centers and local security services.  Scarlett Zongo is convinced that her innovation can improve the health system in Burkina Faso.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

Access to health care has relatively improved in Africa over the past decade. However much remains to be done. Initiatives are multiplying on the continent to bridge this gap.

Smart Africa, an alliance of 32 African countries and international organizations committed to the digital transformation of Africa, and The Commons Project Foundation (TCP) announced last February 16 a partnership to accelerate the delivery of digital health in Africa.

Through this collaboration, the members of both partners have committed to supporting and working on the design, development, deployment, and operation of digital public health infrastructure for Africans. They are also engaging in various digital health pilot projects aimed at strengthening African health systems.

One of the main focuses of the partnership is the SMART Health Card, which allows populations to securely share a verifiable version of their immunization record via a QR code. The innovation being implemented in Rwanda and Kenya is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We believe that the future of healthcare in Africa is digital-first, powered by mobility. This partnership will go a long way in delivering world-class health services to Africa’s citizens such as SMART Health Cards,” said Lacina Koné (pictured), CEO of Smart Africa.

Access to health care remains low in many African countries. The ratio of professionals per 10,000 inhabitants is still far below the WHO standards, which recommend a minimum of 23 health workers to ensure a basic quality of service. Digital technology comes as the solution for Africans to improve health care coverage. For Joe Mucheru, the Cabinet Secretary of Kenya's Ministry of ICT, Innovation, and Youth, the widespread adoption of digital health has the potential to revolutionize healthcare in the same way that the M-Pesa payment system has revolutionized financial inclusion.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Tech

Digital Health enterprise -The Medical Concierge Group- launched in 2018 its solution to address the problems of the remoteness of health facilities, long waiting lines, low doctor-to-patient ratios, and the lack of access to credible health information. Called Rocket Health, the service is the fruit of a collaboration between Dr. Davis Musinguzi, Dr. John Mark Bwanika, Dr. William Lubega, and Dr. Hope Achiro. It is accessible 24/7 via USSD and SMS on basic mobile phones, WhatsApp, or directly online on smartphones, tablets, or computers.

“The doctor-patient ratio in Uganda now stands at one to twenty-five thousand. That means so many people cannot access quality health care, and it’s not only the doctors. The pharmacists and the pharmacy services or the laboratory services are also really difficult for most people to come by. And if they do, there are long waiting lines in the traditional settings,” said Hope Fortunate Achiro, Director of pharmacy services at Rocket Health.

Rocket Health’s users can get teleconsultation with doctors, contact a medical team for home lab samples, have medications delivered, and have children vaccinated, among other things. They can also, through the call center, get support on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues or access an e-shop where they can buy and have delivered products such as condoms, emergency contraception, HIV self-tests, etc. The services are delivered in a private and confidential environment.

Rocket Health is currently available in Kampala. The solution recently received six months of incubation in 2021 at the Next Health Accelerator (NHA) -a health innovation accelerator designed by Intrepid Entrepreneurs for African entrepreneurs- and a $15,000 seed fund. Its promoters want to expand across the country, starting with Greater Kampala, then enter Kenya and Nigeria, where the service already has a registered legal presence. Rocket Health has won several awards, including  Uganda's 2021 Start-up of the Year and 2021 Best Health Startup of the Year at the Kampala Innovation Week. The event was organized in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

Ruben Tchounyabe

Published in Solutions

After coming up with the idea for his app while being treated in France, he went on to win RFI’s Africa 2020 App Challenge with the project. The platform, already available in Mali and Guinea, is set for expansion across the continent.

On January 18, 2022, Amara Diawara (photo) announced a partnership with Synapse Medicine, a French health software company. This partnership, Diawara said, will allow Afriqcare, the startup he founded with Mariam Coulibaly, to improve the quality of its services.

With his platform, the techpreneur and holder of a Ph.D. in Medicine (from Gamal Abdel Nasser University in Conakry) hopes to revolutionize access to health care in his country, Guinea, and the rest of Africa.

Afriqcare offers online appointment booking, teleconsultation, and tele-expertise services. It also enables doctors to access their patients’ medical records via a health booklet and an e-vaccination record. With approximately 37 medical specialties currently listed on its platform, Afriqcare is already available in Conakry (Guinea) and Bamako (Mali).

The idea for the app emerged in Amara Diawara's mind while he was undergoing treatment for a lung tumor in France, where he had flown to in 2015 to pursue a master's degree in public health. Before that, he was working at the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of the response to the Ebola epidemic that hit Guinea. During his treatment, he discovered the use of digital tools for healthcare monitoring and wanted to apply them in Africa.

"I told myself that we needed to give African patients and healthcare professionals the means to interact with digital tools. When I saw my patients, once they were out of the hospital, I no longer had any information about their journey. That had to change," he explained and so Afriqcare was born in 2020.

Amara Diawara won RFI's Africa 2020 Challenge App award and consequently €15,000 in funding. In February 2021, during the award ceremony, he said he would use the money to develop a new and improved version of the Afriqcare app.

"We will make the application easier to use so that it can be accessed even with low internet speed. The new version will also be more reliable and secure," Diawara declared at the time. He also revealed his ambition to dominate the digital health sector in French-speaking Africa, by 2025.

Aïsha Moyouzame

Published in TECH STARS
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