Around Sh171 Million is Invested in Kenyan Healthcare Businesses by Villgro Africa.

During the past seven years, Villgro Africa has invested approximately $1.36 million (Sh171.4 million) in 36 Kenyan healthcare firms. As part of its regional growth, the company wants to open a Biotech Innovation Hub.The impact investor and incubator intend to make these initiatives public.

Since its inception, Villgro Africa has made it possible for those at the bottom of the pyramid to get healthcare. According to Wilfred Njagi, co-founder and CEO of Villgro Africa, the company has gradually invested seed money in social entrepreneurs that have domestic solutions to Africa’s healthcare and lifestyle problems over the past seven years.

These businesses have so far brought in about $5.2 million (Sh655.2 million) in revenue, produced 540 jobs, and affected more over two million lives.

According to the Impact Report, Villgro Africa committed $2.14 million (Sh269.6 million) in total investments over the past seven years, of which $1.36 million (Sh171 million) went to Kenyan entrepreneurs.

In order to accelerate the development of medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics for the control and eradication of diseases related to poverty, rare diseases, neglected tropical diseases, and NCDs, Njagi said.

According to Robert Karanja, co-founder of Villgro Africa and its chief innovation officer, there are numerous prospects for startups and investors in the local manufacturing of medical products.

Villgro Africa is aiming to build an incubator-fund platform in collaboration with Jaza Rift Fund with a goal fund size of $30 million (Sh3.8 billion) to help entrepreneurs who graduate from the incubator in order to make this a reality.

Drop Access, a company that creates mobile, solar-powered smart fridges that can be put on bikes to distribute vaccinations and other medical supplies, is one of the notable companies in which Villgro Africa has invested. Others include the home healthcare provider Bena Care and the innovative wound care and theatre textile manufacturing company Negus Med.

Rob Beyer, co-founder and executive chairman of Villgro, said, “As we celebrate seven years of growth and impact, we are grateful for a pipeline of quality firms, for funders who believe in the vision, for our board members and mentors who freely give of their time and expertise, and for our clients who entrust their plans to our team.

Tanzania Getting A Boost From A New Partnership For Maternal Health Emergency Transportation System

At the USAID “Democracy Delivers” event held in conjunction with the UN General Assembly, the government of Tanzania, Vodafone Foundation, and USAID pledged to develop a maternal health emergency transportation system that now ensures hospital transportation for thousands of Tanzanian women. Samia Suluhu Hassan, the president of Tanzania, requested a cooperation to extend this initiative across the entire nation. In response, USAID and the Vodafone Foundation pledged $15 million, with $10 million coming from the Vodafone Foundation and $5 million from USAID. Vice President Philip Mpango, who was the government of Tanzania’s representative at the event, pledged to pay for all transportation expenses as well as to provide dispatch personnel right away.Through such initiatives, the program’s reach will be expanded from two districts, which are home to around 1 million people, to Tanzania’s 60 million inhabitants.

In to replicate this model in other sub-Saharan African countries with high rates of maternal mortality, Vodafone Foundation further pledged an additional $5 million, bringing its total investment to $15 million. To replicate Tanzania’s successes elsewhere, USAID will explore further into opportunities to collaborate with the Vodafone Foundation.

Vodafone Foundation and USAID developed a free ride-sharing programme for expectant mothers as part of a 2013-2020 maternal health programme in the Sengerema/Buchosa and Shinyanga districts. In accordance with the programme, a woman experiencing a maternal emergency dials a toll-free number, a health worker takes down her information, and a dispatcher uses that information to find the closest hospital and private taxi driver. The driver is paid when the patient is delivered to the health centre. The initiatives, which cost less than the cost of one ambulance and have transported more than 15,000 women and newborns to date, are now fully funded by the local governments in both pilot areas.

Joakim Reiter, Chief External and Corporate Affairs Officer at Vodafone and Trustee of a Vodafone Foundation, announced a commitment as part of a panel discussion on how businesses and foundations can work with developing democracies that was hosted by Administrator Power, who also announced USAID’s commitment.

Africa’s potential pharmaceutical hub: Rwanda

The pharmaceutical industry is paying attention to Rwanda, which is quickly becoming a focal point of African attempts to improve regulatory harmonisation, increase access to and cost of medications, and develop a sustainable domestic pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing industry.

The Rwandan government has a goal of developing their nation into a regional centre for the manufacture and delivery of vaccines and medications throughout the continent of Africa. It has carefully positioned Rwanda as a major player in the continent’s pharmaceutical and vaccine production technology in recent years.

In terms of developing its pharmaceutical industry, Rwanda has achieved considerable strides throughout time. The Rwanda Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was established by law in 2018. Its explicit mission is to safeguard public health by policing drugs for humans and animals, vaccinations, and medical equipment.

The foundation of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation (APTF) in Rwanda was authorised by the African Development Bank in June 2022 with the goal of bolstering the continent’s pharmaceutical sector, as well as its industrial and healthcare facilities. The collaboration between Rwanda and numerous regulatory agencies from EU member states was also announced in June by the EU. Following this declaration, a groundbreaking ceremony for Kigali’s first mRNA vaccines facility, which is being developed by the German company BioNTech, took place.

The African Medicines Agency (AMA), which seeks to synchronise the regulatory frameworks for pharmaceutical products throughout Africa, received approval from the African Union’s Executive Council in July 2022 to set up its headquarters and secretariat in Rwanda.

In order to boost the workforce capability of Africa’s pharmaceutical business, Bloom Public Health, an African public health think tank organisation, is planning the development of the African Pharmaceutical Academy (APA) in Rwanda in July 2022.

The APTF, AMA, and APA will assist the regional pharmaceutical market on the continent and improve Africa’s pharma sector’s ability to compete internationally.