Technology is contributing significantly to Africa’s growth, strengthening the health, economic, agricultural and educational sectors. Nigeria is not excluded from the list of countries striving to set foot in the global scene. Health tech is a quantum leap in the area of medicine, but the Nigerian healthcare system is ridiculously inadequate to meet medical needs. Which has caused several -privately owned- health tech companies to swoop in and continuously save the day. Yet, a stark technological divide still exists in the country’s healthcare system.
In no particular order, these are the top health tech companies bridging the gap between health and technology in Nigeria.
Nigerian Health Tech Companies
According to reports, commercialization and personal aversions towards voluntary blood donation truncates blood supply to meet clinical demands. Death tolls rises every year from bleeding complications during childbirth, accidents, anemia and other chronic ailments. The recipients of blood transfusion end up paying heavily to some commercial donors due to the ill-equipped nature of blood banks in most Nigerian government hospitals.
LifeBank is a digitized platform based in Lagos that specializes in the distribution of blood, oxygen, and medical consumables. The startup sources and safely transports blood and blood products from authorized blood banks, using WHO-endorsed cold chain system to hospitals and healthcare facilities. LifeBank marshals the defective framework of federal hospitals by supplying plant sourced medical oxygen, accessories, supplies, etc, from a host of partners and distributors.
It was founded in 2016 by Temie Giwa-Tubosun after the complicated delivery of her son. The health tech company has witnessed notable expansion into other countries like Kenya and Ethiopia within five years.
Healthtracka is a Nigeria-based health startup that offers at home diagnostic tests and wellness checkups. The digital platform addresses the feasibility that most healthcare organisations in Nigeria severely lack. Due to the cumbersome processes involved in patient screenings, the need for technological applications in the area of medicine is imperative. Health tech companies such as Healthtracka intervenes to simplify a myriad of things and save millions of lives.
The platform works by allowing its users to purchase their preferred screening packages using the mobile app. Users are then expected to visit any Healthtracka-affiliated laboratory proximal to them or select the home sample collection option. After which users / patients receive digital results within 24 – 48 hours.
Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson together with Victor Amusan took the initiative in May 2021 to establish the platform after Ife’s father passed away from stroke spawning from late diagnosis of diabetes and hypertension. The startup received $1.5 million seed funding shortly after participating in the Techstars Toronto accelerator program. Healthtracka’s primary focus is to ensure that Nigerians who go about their lives oblivious to pre-existing medical conditions receive appropriate medical attention.
Remedial Health is a rapidly growing pharmaceutical procurement company which started off as a private label brand before branching out into tech. All attempts by the government to foil the smuggling of falsified and illicit medicines in different parts of the country have been thwarted steadily. As a result, the startup is one of the leading health tech companies in Nigeria offering solutions to counterfeit drug distribution.
The mass mortality of millions of Nigerians, cost and treatment failures from the consumption of substandard pharmaceutical products necessitated the establishment of Remedial Health. Samuel Okwuada, a self-taught software developer and qualified pharmacist along with Victor Benjamin, a pharmaceutical sales agent with considerable expertise, founded Remedial Health jointly in 2021.
Since its inception, the business has expanded to become a national pharmaceutical supply chain. Licensed pharmaceutical products have been obtained by healthcare providers, pharmacies, chemists and other registered drug retail outlets. Remedial Health’s digitized supply of pharmaceutical products also enables procurement of authentic and affordable medicines via reliable logistics network.
In September 2022, it secured $4.4 million in seed funding to broaden their reach across Nigeria. As well as for bankrolling businesses, provision of loans to SMEs unfairly prejudiced by financial institutions for creditworthiness and to render services to their increasing client base of neighborhood pharmacies, Proprietary Patent Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) and hospitals.
The African genomics company was founded by Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong who recently relinquished his role as chief executive officer to become a senior adviser. Following 30% layoff of their workforce in August 2022 until his resignation, Ene-Obong was the co-founder and CEO of 54gene. In 2019, Abasi Ene-Obong, Damilola Oni, Gatumi Aliyu, and Ogochukwu Francis Osifo forged an alliance to build a biotechnology industry that will change Africa’s healthcare system.
The startup seeks to represent the underrepresented population in genomics studies, so that precision medicine is equalized. Majority of the genetic materials used in most pharmaceutical researches are Caucasians, with only a sprinkling of Africans. Irrespective of the solid genetic diversity inherent in African ancestry. 54gene tackles this imbalance through advanced research infrastructure, highly curated data and genomic medicine for minoritized countries.
Nigeria operates three main levels of healthcare system, unlike some advanced countries that boasts four concrete tiers. The levels are primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems. The weak structures of the Nigerian healthcare system and inability to access quality healthcare from the least tier galvanized Bryan Mezue into action. He joined forces with his co-founder Andrew Garza to commence a health tech platform that’ll offer equal access to essential primary healthcare in spite of social bias.
Lifestores healthcare run a tech-enabled marketplace named OGApharmacy, as well as an ERP system. OGApharmacy is a digital procurement platform that enables pharmacies and hospitals to merge their choice requirements. The pharmaceutical marketplace then bargains for the lowest possible prices on certified medications, allowing for collective savings. Meanwhile, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) allows for Lifestores customers to execute operations effectively.
Ever since its launch, the startup has served over 100,000 patients monthly, including 700 plus pharmacies and dispensaries. With more than $1 million saved for healthcare providers, 7,000 products sourced from verified suppliers and 10% of pharmacies in Nigeria served.
Nigerians are no strangers to telehealth thanks to the advent of Covid-19 which shook the world’s economy. The aftermath of the pandemic greatly expedited telemedicine, prompting the world to veer towards inclusion of virtual health-care technologies in healthcare systems.
Reliance Health is among the health tech companies in Nigeria restructuring the face of medical care. Founded in 2016 by Femi Kuti, Opeyemi Olumekun and Matthew Mayaki, the startup operates by co-operating with hospitals and exclusive healthcare facilities to provide healthcare. Through a blend of integrated approach, which consists of telemedicine, affordable health insurance and innovative solutions.
The telemedicine programme provided by Reliance Health affords customers the opportunity to make online consultations and drug deliveries. Mitigating unnecessary consultations that often overcrowd Nigerian health centers. An array of health plans for families and businesses also exists on the Reliance Health insurance platform. The health tech startup is YC backed along with a league of other investors, hospitals and laboratories.