Examples of Leading Medical Technologies in Africa
The digitalization of Africa’s health sector is drastically different from the rest of the world due to human capital scarcity and disease intensity. One doctor is responsible for 30.000 patients on average throughout the continent, even though Africa is the world’s region with the highest disease burden. On the other hand, according to the International Finance Corporation and World Bank, the African healthcare sector valued $35 billion in 2016 and increased by the projected CAGR of 6% over the forecast years 2017-2030.
Due to the significant skill gap, Africans rely on easily accessible and do-it-on-your-own problem-solving technologies instead of traditional medical infrastructure. Therefore innovation in Africa’s medical technologies should be more target-driven and enhance the efficient use of resources.
This insight piece will give examples of how medical technologies help address the health challenges and Africa’s skill gap and connectivity problem.
- Zipline – Established in 2014, Zipline delivers blood supplies to the Rwanda population through drone technology. Due to scattered demographics and remote villages, transportation of stores is a rooted problem in Africa. Partnered with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gavi Alliance, UPS Foundation, and Pfizer and invested by Sequoia, A16Z, GV, Temasek, TPG, Baillie Gifford, and Katalyst Ventures, Zipline sought to deliver vaccines, medicines, and supplies to anyone who needs it on time. Their ultimate goal is to deliver basic access to medicine to 7 million people of the planet no matter how hard it is to reach them.
- Novartis – Novartis Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Communication of Ghana established a telemedicine system called SMS for Life to stock anti-Malaria drugs in health facilities. The project improves connectivity by making sure demand is matched with supply faster than usual. Enacted under the Roll Back Malaria Partnership umbrella, SMS of Life has been applied across Tanzania, and pilots are taking place in Ghana and Kenya.
- SANBS (South African National Blood Service) – South Africa is the leading country in the continent’s medical technologies with a $3.2 billion investment annually in digital health and life sciences. SANBS project uses drones to deliver and collect blood. This project aims to overcome the skill gap problem in rural areas. Established in Johannesburg in 2001, SANBS is a non-profit organization.
- Kidz Alive Talk Tool – Approximately 7.2 million Africans live with HIV/AIDS. Endorsed by the South African National Department of Health, Kidz Alive aims to inform children of various diseases through animation and games. The primary purpose is to reduce stigma for better understanding in an age-appropriate way.
Thanks to target-driven medical innovation, life expectancy in the continent has increased dramatically since 2000, and Africa is now adding nearly five years per decade on average. Africa’s dire need to increase efficiencies presents a unique opportunity to leverage private sector innovation and technology. As Algomedicus, we consider Africa as a Tier 3 market reach. We believe in the medium term; our contactless technologies will offer a unique way for more Africans to benefit from medical technologies for fewer costs.