Africa to receive a new digital healthcare platform with an investment of $3 million

Easy access to primary healthcare is critical for early detection and treatment of health issues. Primary care is best given by groups of primary care professionals who work together to coordinate care. However, in Sub-Saharan Africa, universal access to such care is limited.

Digital healthcare platforms have a significant chance to expand access to team-based care across the area. They have the potential to lower the cost of high-quality care while improving health outcomes, reach patients in rural locations, and relieve strain on established medical support systems.

Such forums have grown in popularity around the world as a result of the pandemic, and Africa is no exception. With its telehealth service, a new platform based in South Africa hopes to provide Africans with affordable, high-quality care. To that end, it has closed a $3 million pre-Series A investment.

Webrock Ventures is a venture-building investment firm situated in Stockholm, Sweden. So, in essence, the firm joins with Swedish IT companies and creates portfolio businesses by combining its cash with the companies’ business concepts. It does so while still owning a significant portion of the company.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, global telehealth investments have soared, increasing by more than 50%. With several of the world’s fastest-growing economies, investors and businesses are increasingly looking to Africa as a significant growth market for services in high demand.

A entirely new opportunity is created by forging a new alliance. Healthforce can use its current position to bring’s core technology to a new direct-to-patient market. Webrock, a willing investment machine set up to scale the platform, is in the backdrop.

The new company will use a freemium model to target the uninsured B2C market. On-demand and planned consultations with nurses, general practitioners, and mental health specialists are available through the site. It will be integrated with Healthforce’s broader primary care offering and will provide chronic care management.

The healthcare market in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be worth $90 billion. However, health insurance coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa is in the single digits (percentage-wise), with the exception of South Africa, which has 16 percent coverage. According to Kornik, the three parties aim to handle a big amount of the problem and are in agreement on how Africa’s healthcare system should look if it succeeds.

“This is a pure-play healthcare provider company. We will deliver high-quality healthcare at low cost to 75 million people through telemedicine through this pan-African enterprise, literally placing healthcare in the palm of their hands,” stated Saul Kornik, co-founder and CEO of Healthforce.

Tanzania makes Covid-19 statistics public for the first time in over a year

Tanzania has recorded 100 new Covid-19 cases since the third wave of the viral disease broke out across the globe, President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Monday.
In her maiden press conference at State House in Dar es Salaam on Monday, President Hassan said 70 of the 100 patients were critical.
“About 70 are on ventilators,” she said.
It was the first time Tanzania was making made Covid-19 statistics public since May 2020.

The fifth phase administration of former President John Magufuli at some point denied the existence of Covid-19 in the country.
President Hassan has adopted a completely different approach to dealing with the pandemic since ascending to power on March 19, following following Magufuli’s death on March 17.
She said on Monday that as soon as she was sworn-in as President, she embarked on ways to adopt globally-accepted measures of preventing the spread of the coronavirus, including vaccination.

Vaccination budget

Meanwhile, the Tanzanian government says it will spend at least $470 million to purchase Covid-19 vaccines and bail out sectors that were severely hit by the pandemic.
President Suluhu made the announcement during her meeting with editors and journalists at the State House in Dar es Salaam.

The President further said Tanzania has registered for the Covax package and will therefore be ready to administer the vaccine doses in the near future.
“We have $470 million to order vaccines and equipment to use in the fight against coronavirus,” she said.
She added that vaccination will be voluntary to give citizens the opportunity to choose what is best for them.
The President did not name the vaccine the country will procure given many nations have developed jabs for the killer virus which brought global economies to their knees.
Recently, the government applied for a $571 million (about Sh1.3 trillion) loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help it tackle economic challenges resulting from the pandemic.
Tabling the government’s Sh36.3 trillion 2021/22 budget in Parliament on June 10, the government said this was a low-interest loan aimed at tackling the social and economic impacts of Covid-19.
IMF officials in Dar es Salaam and Washington were quoted by Reuters as confirming talks on the matter, noting, however, that Tanzania would have to provide information on Covid-19.

Nigeria’s Helium Health launches health tech in Kenya

Helium Health, West Africa’s leading provider of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Hospital Management Information (HMI) Systems, has announced the debut of its entire array of products and services in Kenya for the first time.

Helium Health, in collaboration with three local providers, Philips Healthcare Technologies, Carepay, and Savannah Informatics, will integrate new services, including an EMR, to serve the whole East African market.

“We’ve been preparing to enter Kenya’s burgeoning health tech industry since last year, so we’re really thrilled to be getting started in 2021, already collaborating with three new local partners to assist increase efficiency and deliver better patient care. We feel there is a significant opportunity to use cutting-edge technology to enhance the way healthcare data is collected and managed across Africa, therefore collaborating with like-minded healthcare providers and institutions in Kenya is a good fit for us,” said Tito Ovia, co-founder of Helium Health.

“We are convinced that we can play a big role in aiding both Kenya’s public and commercial healthcare sectors,” said Jean Kyula, Country Manager for Helium Health Kenya and formerly a National Health Service (NHS) doctor in the UK. “We’re ecstatic to announce that we’ve opened for business in Nairobi, where we’re already cooperating with three new partners and expanding into Uganda and Liberia. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of technology in healthcare, as well as the need to continue developing better systems, more remote access solutions, and improving efficiencies in our healthcare sector, so we look forward to working with more partners, doctors, hospitals, and clinics as we move forward,” she added.

Helium Health successfully concluded a US$10 million Series A investment round in May 2020 (the highest fundraise of any SaaS healthcare company in Africa) to scale and grow the business in both existing and new countries, increasing its reach across East, North, and Francophone West Africa. Helium Health has previously worked with clinics in Uganda and Liberia, enrolling 90-plus users in early 2021, and is now expanding its services to Nairobi.

Helium Health provides a comprehensive array of solutions that span the whole healthcare value chain, from electronic medical records (EMR) and hospital management information (HMI) systems to credit and telemedicine. Helium Health’s technology is currently used by over 300 healthcare providers and 5,000 health professionals in Nigeria, Senegal, and Ghana, allowing healthcare facilities to easily accept payments and issue invoices, access quick funding, and hold televisits with their patients, making it easier for patients to get diagnosed from the comfort of their own homes.

Helium Health was awarded the IFC IT Emerge award in 2020, which connects creative health tech entrepreneurs with premier healthcare providers in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to launch pilot initiatives and form long-term relationships. Helium Health’s technology will be tested in the East African market.

Afreximbank launches AMCE project in Nigeria

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) announced the start of its African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) project in Abuja, Nigeria.

It will deliver world-class care to patients of all socioeconomic backgrounds across the continent.

The Bank recently formalised its long-term partnership with King’s College Hospital, London (KCH) on the project by signing an agreement naming KCH as the AMCE’s Clinical Partner.

The Abuja AMCE’s construction is set to commence in the fourth quarter of 2021, with completion slated for the first quarter of 2024. The African Medical Centre of Excellence will be built in four phases over the course of six years, beginning with a 170-bed specialised hospital and eventually extending to a 500-bed institution.

Following a competitive bidding procedure in which Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania all participated, Nigeria was chosen as the host nation for the first AMCE in 2017. A pre-feasibility study commissioned by Afreximbank and completed by KCH in 2015 identified the four nations as potential host countries.

“The establishment of the African Medical Centre of Excellence marks a turning point in the continent’s history. We are happy to be concretizing our goals through this project, which was designed as part of Afreximbank’s 5th Strategic Plan,” said Professor Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank.

“With general care capabilities that will service the whole West African area and beyond, the Abuja AMCE will address the growing burden of communicable and noncommunicable illnesses. It is a pilot project that will inspire similar medical facilities across the continent.”

The AMCE intends to provide a comprehensive spectrum of medical services, including diagnostics, therapy, nuclear medicine, surgery, and post-surgical care, as well as complementary specialised services in oncology, haematological illnesses (including sickle cell and blood malignancies), and cardiovascular maladies.

“We are thankful for the considerable assistance from the Nigerian government and are delighted to have King’s College Hospital as our partners. We are excited to benefit from their world-class experience in medicine, medical research, and training,” Professor Oramah said.

The Abuja AMCE will not only improve access to healthcare for 50,000 people per year, but it would also create 3,000 employment throughout its development and operation.

As a result of the AMCE’s establishment, Afreximbank hopes to contribute to the provision of high-quality healthcare, expanded service offerings, training, increased employment, the preservation of foreign exchange in Africa, and the development of intra-African medical tourism.

Sir Hugh Taylor, Chair of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, stated, “We have a long tradition of delivering specialised healthcare locally, nationally, and globally at King’s. We are pleased to be expanding our clinical knowledge in services such as haematology and cardiology to assist the people of Nigeria and Africa more broadly.”

Africa sees a $1.3 billion increase in healthcare investments

Africa’s healthcare faces many problems, ranging from inadequate infrastructure to a shortage of funding, but technology is changing healthcare delivery in the continent.

It is critical that Africa’s rapidly expanding young population, which is expected to be the world’s largest workforce by 2040, has access to high-quality healthcare in order to reap the rewards of this generational dividend.

For prospective buyers, these challenges offer a plethora of business opportunities. In Africa, the private sector is becoming increasingly significant in funding healthcare.

The healthcare sector in Sub-Saharan Africa has grown significantly in the last two decades, according to an AVCA survey. Between 2015 and 2020, 97 private equity (PE) and venture capitalist (VC) investments totaling US$1.3 billion were made in Africa’s healthcare sector.

Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, and Ghana are the top five countries in terms of the number of PE and VC fund contributions in healthcare in Africa between 2015 and 2020. Deals in the healthcare market accounted for 8% of overall transaction value in 2019 and 2020, demonstrating investors’ continuing commitment to closing the continent’s healthcare gap.

In 2020, Africa’s share of total reported deal value rose to 16% of total reported deal value, up from 3% in 2019. The overall amount of final closed PE & VC funds in Africa between 2015 and 2020 was US$18.1 billion. Half of this came from funds with healthcare as a focused industry in their investment mandate.

Nearly half of all healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa is provided by the private sector, and nearly 60% of the continent’s healthcare funding is provided by private sources.

When asked why healthcare investment is growing in Africa, Ugo Iwuchukwu, Brands and contact manager at Helium Health, said, “The situation with the latest investments into African healthcare is a melting pot of a lot of things.” For starters, it was unavoidable. Healthcare is an industry that concerns everybody, and it lags behind contemporary sectors like banking and even telecommunications in terms of technological advancement. Consider how you can make almost any trade online, but you can not do any healthcare operation online. As a result, it has always been a position where value could be added by all stakeholders.

“Second, the pandemic unintentionally shone a spotlight on the state of global healthcare, demonstrating what people like Helium have been saying: there is a lot of work to be done to develop not only Nigeria, but the whole global healthcare sector. As a result, what was already simmering prior to the pandemic gains traction.”

As more players come on board and technology is gradually being used to solve numerous healthcare issues around the continent, digital technology is becoming more prevalent in Africa’s healthcare market.

While investment in the healthtech sector is still in its infancy relative to other sectors such as fintech, the race has obviously started, and it will only be a matter of time before we see the fintech sector’s progress mirrored in healthcare across Africa.

Egypt’s Misr Capital launches a $380m healthcare investment platform

Misr Capital, Banque Misr’s investment arm, and Elevate Private Equity have unveiled Nile Misr Scan & Labs, a $380 million healthcare investment platform.

After seeding initial contributions Banque Misr’s cash pledge and Elevate Private Equity’s in-kind contribution to the platform, the platform managers hope to raise $150 million before the first closure in Q1 2022.

Elevate Private Equity has established a solid track record as the strategic manager of Nile Scan & Labs Co, achieving a 38 percent CAGR over the last four years, effectively making it the fastest growing healthcare entity in Egypt and the country.

Nile Misr Healthcare is built on the two partners’ strong investment and medical expertise, which will actively manage the fund strategy and acquire highly selective targets with high potential across healthcare verticals such as hospitals, diagnostic facilities, pharmaceuticals, medical education, and digital medical services in Egypt and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Responsible investments come at the top of Misr Capital’s priorities, particularly in sectors like healthcare that contribute to the society in which we operate,” said Akef El Maghraby, Chairman of Misr Capital and Vice Chairman of Banque Misr.

“Investing in healthcare not only brings meaningful, tangible benefits to society, but it also aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Target 3 and the UN’s Principles of Responsible Investments.”

Tarek Moharram, a healthcare veteran with over 14 years of experience leading, creating, and expanding medical institutions in Egypt, will lead the platform as CEO.

“This collaboration combines Elevate Private Equity’s technological and strategic capabilities with Misr Capital’s esteemed financial and investment track record, resulting in the formation of a forum that will aggressively seek M&A transactions in the extremely fragmented healthcare spaces around our target jurisdictions. Our long-term strategy is to create bigger, integrated institutions that offer robust, world-class healthcare to larger communities across Egypt and Sub-Saharan Africa, while also having a positive effect on the broader economies and providing superior returns to investors,” he added.

“Most notably, the platform is founded on a comprehensive expertise set that includes veteran healthcare specialists, seasoned financial executives, and a deep line-up of established investors backed by Banque Misr, one of Africa’s oldest and most renowned banks,” he said.

Following the fulfillment of all requisite permits, the platform is scheduled to sign its first selling and purchasing agreement (SPA) within weeks. Misr Capital’s financial and tax advisors were Ernst & Young Egypt, and its legal advisors were Alliance Law Firm and Al Kamel Law Firm.

Nigeria gets $18.2m from Japan to boost the health-care system

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba announced that Nigeria has obtained a $18.2 million grant from Japan to improve its health sector. During his visit to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), he disclosed this knowledge.

He claimed that his visit was to evaluate the utilization of the N49 billion investment fund allocated by the federal government to 52 federal health institutions in the region, disclosing that the Japanese assistance will take the form of medical equipment and capacity building for medical staff.

According to the Minister, this assistance is made possible by President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 visit to the Japanese Prime Minister.

Mr Clem Agba said, “I just wanted to let you know that the Irrua Specialist Hospital and the UBTH, both in Edo, are among the seven beneficiaries of this grant.

“We also collaborate with USAID, and I signed agreements with them in which they provided us with 200 ventilators, of which I am aware that Irrua Specialist Hospital received three and the UBTH received three from the 200 ventilators that we distributed across the country,” he added.

The Minister stated that one of the COVID-19 revelations was the weakness of the Nigerian health system, which is why the FG graciously approved the N49 billion investment fund for 52 federal medical centers and teaching hospitals across the country.

He clarified that the fund was intended to help develop facilities in the sector in order to maintain the country’s health system’s stability.

Agba stated that the funds were set aside for the construction of molecular laboratories, as well as the provision of a minimum of ten bedded Intensive Care Units (ICU); isolation center appliances and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs); among others, in the 52 health establishments.

“This meant that each of the centers received approximately N950 million to buy the required facilities; as well as PPE for their labs, isolation centers, and ICUs,” he added.

AU, J&J Sign Deal for 400 Million Doses of Covid-19 Vaccines

Johnson & Johnson, an American pharmaceutical company, has announced that it will begin supplying the African Union (AU) with 400 million doses of its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine in the third quarter.

According to a related announcement, all African Union member states will have access to 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot Covid-19 vaccine through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), which was formed in November 2020.

According to a joint statement released by the African Union, the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), and the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), an extra 180 million doses may be requested.

Africa CDC Director, Dr. John Nkengasong, said: “The Africa CDC proposed to the African Union that a minimum of 750 million Africans (60 percent) be immunized if Covid-19 is to be contained. This exchange helps Africa to reach approximately half of the goal. The main feature of this vaccine is that it is a single-dose vaccine, making it easy to roll out rapidly and safely, saving lives.”

President of South Africa, AU Champion for the Covid-19 vaccine plan and purchase, and Chairman of AVATT, Cyril Ramaphosa, accepted the landmark deal, which he initiated jointly with the corporation during his term as AU Chairperson.

“This agreement is a big step toward ensuring the health of all Africans. It is also a strong example of African unity and what we can do by collaboration between the public, private, and foreign sectors that prioritize citizens,” Ramaphosa said.

The vast majority of supplies will be manufactured at Aspen Pharma’s massive pharmaceutical processing facility in South Africa.

Afreximbank President Benedict Oramah stated, “We are extremely honored to have been offered the chance by the African Union to promote this significant transaction under the auspices of the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task(AVATT) Team in the middle of a very tight Covid-19 vaccine market.”

“We look forward to beginning the implementation of the US$2 billion Vaccine Procurement facility approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors to assist the continent in beginning to rid itself of the pandemic and restore its economy as Financial and Transaction Consultants, Guarantors, Installment Payment Facility Arrangers, and Payment Officers.”

Oramah stated that the money would help intra-African trade and that “we have already begun engagement with our financial partners” to obtain additional funding to support procurement if Africa agrees to purchase the additional 180 million doses.

AU countries were invited to place pre-orders for the vaccines prior to the signing of the deal, and “many countries expressed strong preference for this particular vaccine. The majority of countries have already finished their pre-orders,” reads the statement.

USAID has initiated a new $19m fund to boost healthcare in Nigeria

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has initiated a new $19 million five-year fund to finance programs in Nigeria aimed at enhancing the quality of health worker preparation.

This was revealed in a statement released by USAID in Abuja yesterday, during an event attended by Health Office Director Paul McDermott and other key government health sector officials. It noted that the Health Workforce Management initiative will prepare 100,000 by 2025.

Health Workforce Management will facilitate the establishment of cost-effective, well-trained and empowered health staff in the targeted rural and remote areas of Bauchi, Sokoto, Kebbi and Ebonyi States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

“We invest in health staff because good and skilled human capital for health boost health outcomes and save lives. The operation will help efforts to resolve the current problems faced by health workers in Nigeria,” McDermott said at the virtual ceremony.

Health Staff Management will enhance human capital, boost the governance of health workers and create interventions to improve the retention of health workers. The activity is expected to generate 100,000 additional health professionals over the next five years, capable of responding to existing and potential health needs of the communities of the targeted states,” the statement said.

Health Workforce Management will prepare these primary health care employees to help develop a more capable workforce that can adapt to health demands, increase the delivery and skill balance of front-line workers, and enhance training organizations so they will implement and apply more effective human resource management techniques.

“The plan could not have came at a better time. Addressing health worker maldistribution by generating the required expertise mix of frontline health staff at the primary care level would be more effective. We look forward to meaningful progress and promise to collaborate with and support USAID every step of the way,” Dr. Usman Adamu, Director of Primary Health Care Services Development at the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said.

Banyan Global will carry out the operation in partnership with Abt Associates, the Institute for Healthcare Development, and Solina Health. It’s part of a $793 million USAID program of activities aimed at integrating health care delivery at the primary level, generating demand for health services, and improving supply chain management at the subnational level.

Healthcare platform Vezeeta plans to invest $25m in the Egyptian market

Vezeeta, a digital healthcare network in the Middle East and Africa, has announced the introduction of its ePharmacy solution (Vezeeta Pharmacy), which helps consumers to order prescription drugs via a smartphone app.

Using the mobile app, users of Vezeeta will upload their e-prescriptions, add their insurance requirements, select cash or cashless payment options before checking out, and arrange same-day home delivery in Cairo and Giza.

Patients may now integrate their pharmacy expertise with medical tele-consultation, as well as 24/7 access to approved pharmacists and service providers. This ensures that they can fulfill their wellbeing needs effortlessly, from start to finish.

“We’re on a wonderful patient ride. By giving our consumers the data to choose from and the best digital resources to be used, Vezeeta continues to inspire its patients in every step of health care,” said Amir Barsoum, Founder & CEO at Vezeeta

In addition to the launch of the big disruptor, Vezeeta, via its CEO, has also revealed plans to pump more than US$25 million into its Egyptian market this year. Both steps are coming as the coronavirus set a record-breaking 2020 for the African ehealth market.

“We’re the first digitally interconnected physicians in our healthcare ecosystem, and now we’re doing the same for pharmacists. Our pharmacists receive outstanding training and compensation to ensure that every customer has a positive experience, every time they log in to the Vezeeta app,” Maha Melhem, Vice President of ePharmacy at Vezeeta, said.

Vezeeta, according to Melhem, adheres to stringent hygiene requirements with its exclusive high-quality packaging, meaning that patients can rely on the organization to provide critical medicines in one hour or less.

The e-solution is a core component of Vezeeta’s robust healthcare offering, which also provides physical and virtual doctor appointments, as well as lab and scan access. Both of these are meant to improve patient accessibility and affordability.

Vezeeta Pharmacy has treated over a million patients in Cairo and Giza to date, with additional cities expected to be added in the immediate future. Vezeeta strives to provide patients with their free medical history on the smartphone app through its in-pharmacy SaaS, e-prescriptions, teleconsultations, and AI-assisted distribution.

Vezeeta is helping more people save time, money, and stress while accessing quality services, optimizing clinical outcomes, and putting patient happiness at the center of its technologies by delivering uninterrupted interactive healthcare experiences to patients from the comfort of their own homes.