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Revolutionising Healthcare in Africa: Spotlight on Innovators Transforming Access, Affordability and Quality Care

by Henry Duah

As we explore the landscape of global healthcare, it becomes increasingly evident that Africa stands on the brink of a transformative era. With its unique challenges and opportunities, the continent is witnessing a surge in innovation, particularly in the realm of healthcare. According to recent data, a significant portion of Africa’s population still grapples with limited access to essential healthcare, medicines, diagnostic tools, and quality care. For instance, according to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, 672 million African people do not have access to the health care they need. This in addition to other statistics highlights the urgent need for scalable solutions in the African Health Ecosystem.

However, amidst these challenges emerge innovators of hope. A wave of trailblazing companies is revolutionising healthcare delivery across the continent to improve access to healthcare in Africa. In this edition, we shine a spotlight on four such innovators: mPharma, Maisha Meds, Field Intelligence, and Ilara Health. Each of these entities, in its unique way, is leveraging technology, collaboration, and innovation to bridge gaps, enhance affordability, and elevate the standard of care across Africa.

MPharma (Ghana)

mPharma is a healthcare company that aims to improve access to medicines and primary healthcare in Africa. Through innovative financing and inventory management solutions, mPharma helps pharmacies, and patients obtain high-quality medicines at lower prices. By aggregating and predicting demand across its network of providers, mPharma ensures that the patient’s needs are always in stock and affordable. With a focus on collaboration and impact, mPharma is working towards creating a partnership for the good health of patients, efficient management for pharmacies, and improved access to healthcare. mPharma started in Ghana and is expanding to other countries in Africa to increase its impact on the continent and the health sector.

Maisha Meds (Kenya)

Maisha Meds is a healthcare company that is using technology to transform healthcare in Africa starting from Kenya. Their innovative mobile app helps healthcare providers deliver affordable, high-quality care to patients in need. They reimburse pharmacies and clinics when they provide excellent care at a subsidised cost and also help them manage their businesses. Maisha Meds has created a large digital network of private pharmacies and clinics in East Africa, impacting over 2,500 businesses and providing access to care for malaria, family planning, and HIV prevention. They offer an all-in-one app for businesses, a reimbursement program, and real-time data on market and health trends.

Field Intelligence (Nigeria)

Field Intelligence is a health technology company that is focused on improving access to healthcare in emerging and frontier markets. They work with governments and businesses to simplify and strengthen pharmaceutical supply chains, making it easier for providers to ensure that essential medical products are available and affordable. Their products and services include supply chain management software, analytics, and logistics services. Field Intelligence is committed to making healthcare more accessible and sustainable, ultimately helping millions of people receive the care they need in Africa.

Ilara Health (Kenya)

Ilara Health is a healthcare company that focuses on improving primary care clinics across Africa. They provide comprehensive solutions to help clinics deliver better healthcare, including financing for diagnostic equipment and medicines, as well as digitising clinic operations. Their goal is to support healthcare providers in delivering complete care to their patients, ensuring access to quality and affordable healthcare services. Ilara Health aims to enhance the patient journey and improve healthcare outcomes in Africa.

The healthcare sector in Africa, despite witnessing significant advancements and innovations, continues to face some challenges. These challenges are deeply rooted in systemic issues, infrastructural gaps, and socio-economic disparities across the continent. One of the most glaring challenges is the inadequate healthcare infrastructure, especially in rural areas. Also, while innovations like those offered by mPharma and Maisha Meds aim to improve affordability, a large segment of the population still faces financial barriers to accessing quality care. 

Despite these challenges, the innovations spearheaded by mPharma, Maisha Meds, Field Intelligence, and Ilara Health offer a glimmer of hope. By leveraging technology, fostering collaborations, and adopting scalable solutions, these companies are laying the foundation for a more resilient and inclusive healthcare ecosystem in Africa. The future likely holds a more interconnected healthcare system with increased adoption of telemedicine platforms, digital health records, and AI-driven diagnostics. Such innovations can bridge the accessibility gap, especially for remote communities with support from Governments and infrastructure development.  The innovative solutions and forward-thinking approaches showcased by these four companies signal a promising positive impact on the African health sector.

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