The healthcare sector has been in the spotlight for months now, due to COVID-19. Although Africa has fared better than other regions, it has become clear that the continent’s healthcare system still needs much improvement to cope with health crises of such magnitude. However, its weaknesses were already visible before the pandemic in countries such as Nigeria and Ghana. In West Africa, companies like Direct Health and Waziki Health are working to improve healthcare responses.
Two Companies Working to Improve Healthcare Responses in West Africa
Health Direct Global: A multi-faceted health platform for Ghanaians
Unfortunately, stories of casualties due to the healthcare system’s deficiencies are omnipresent throughout the African continent. In fact, Health Direct Global started for a similar reason as Waziki Life. Amos Narh, one of its co-founders, lost his father due to medical malpractice in Ghana. Together with Kelvin Ashie, he set out to create a technological solution to some of the issues he had observed in the Ghanaian healthcare system.
Health Direct is a one-stop shop that connects patients with healthcare providers. It also allows patients to track their medical records, manage hospital appointments and access healthcare financing through insurance plans. The company earns a commission on payments made by patients directly on the app and on subscription fees from healthcare providers.
Since its launch in 2020, the platform has enabled more than 500 consultations and onboarded more than 25 healthcare providers.
“Health Direct is a one-stop shop that connects patients with healthcare providers. It also allows patients to track their medical records, manage hospital appointments and access healthcare financing through insurance plans.”
Waziki Life: Providing and connecting Nigerians to fast, quality care
‘Why should people go through this?’ This was the question Tele Aina asked herself after her father passed away. He had fallen ill and her family had struggled to find out what was wrong with him after misdiagnosis from several doctors. As a result of that experience, she realized the need for access to fast, quality health information and created Waziki Life, an app that allows Nigerians to access quality primary health services.
Since its creation in August 2020, the app has facilitated over 600 consultations. The company hopes to expand its reach to ensure all Africans have access to fast and affordable healthcare.
How the New Economy Booster supported both businesses
Nigeria has 3.81 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, most of whom are concentrated in urban areas such as Lagos. This contrasts with 26.04 in the US and 58.23 in the UK and, combined with the fact that 30% of the population has to travel far to access medical attention in Ghana, demonstrates that many people across West Africa still lack access to quality healthcare.
Since the pandemic, the gaps in healthcare are more evident, and solutions such as Waziki Life and Health Direct Global are more essential than ever. For this reason, the New Economy Booster program chose healthcare as one of the key challenging areas to be addressed by the participating companies.
As Health Direct’s Kelvin said, ‘It is very important that healthcare, which is at the centre of the pandemic, receives the attention it needs to help countries recover.’
Through the program, businesses and entrepreneurs with creative ideas on how to address the healthcare deficiencies in West Africa received resources, mentorship and all the support they needed to scale and grow. Kelvin noted that through the program, Health Direct received ‘a lot of support specific to our business and access to a series of thought leadership and capacity building sessions related to business, ecosystems and partnerships, among other things.’ The company now plans to expand throughout the country and into other African emerging markets.
Waziki Life also experienced significant growth during the program and managed to partner with Nigeria’s leading pharmacy chain, Medplus.
Apart from healthcare, the New Economy Booster program also supported business in other key areas such as agriculture, education and commerce. To learn more about them, take a look at the program’s Dealbook.
This article is part of a series featuring impact-driven entrepreneurs from Ghana and Nigeria sparking innovation in COVID-19 affected sectors. To keep up to date with the New Economy Booster program, subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and listen to the testimonies of the participants and program managers on our YouTube channel.