A new tech accelerator that will be established early next year in Nairobi is expected to provide mentorship and investment opportunities to promising African e-health care start-ups, boost digital health innovations across the continent.
Ampion, an organization that supports African tech start-ups in partnership with Merck, a pharmaceutical company hope to boost innovation in Health care sector across Africa by opening a specialized Tech health accelerator.
“It’s really about finding start-ups in healthcare space that have two goals: on the one hand to generate profits, on the other hand touch the lives of at least 100 million people,” told The East African recently Fabian Carlos Guhl, founder of Ampion
In Africa, technology is being used to develop mobile and web apps that have the potential to revolutionize healthcare sector, by using technological innovation to address public health gaps such as doctors’ shortage and lack of health facilities.
Medroid is an e-Health platform used in rural Tanzania that enables patients to connect to professional health care providers from wherever they are by combining Micro-phone lens hardware and a mobile application to provide medical solutions.
The app could make healthcare accessible in rural areas, where there are few medical practitioners.
Medroid features include clinical diagnosis service which targets physicians with a working knowledge. It’s a quick diagnosis service that that provides practical, expert, as well as immediate access to patients’ diagnosis results.
Successful Start-ups that are already generating revenues, have a prototype and need money to grow faster will join the initial program in the tech hub. They will receive USD 25.000, USD 50.000 investment and mentoring.
Thirty-one sub-Saharan, African countries have 10 or less medical doctors per 100,000 people. This means mobile technology can be used to increase access to health practitioners.
App development and deployment requires funds and skills to get ideas off ground, scale up innovations generate revenues.
According to Guhl, financial resources, human capital, markets that still need to be developed are the main challenges app developers face.
M-Tiba, is an early stage start up that hope to close medical gap through mobile technologies.
Its healthcare app will be used to help people with least access to health care to get “easy access” to doctor’s consultation via a web platform in Rwanda, Tanzania and Nigeria.
“Our solutions is an online platform to collect patients data, anyone who feels ill will go to an online platform talk to doctors who will be available, “explained Thibault Mutabazi,the co-founder ,” as he keeps using the application he[patient] will have medical history online,”
The app is still at development stage.
In East Africa Ampion program dubbed” Bus Venture” has generated 20 start-ups, but only 2 are currently running.
Muvidaba , one of them based in Kisumu and Nairobi currently developing a mobile app that is directory of medicine..
There are business opportunities for innovators in health care sector in Africa. Aaron Fun, managing partner at Nest ,a venture capital company that invests in early stage startups, says Health Tech is a particularly attractive sector in Africa with a large underserved population.
“There is strong opportunity to develop Health Tech that brings access to basic healthcare, emergency services, pharmaceuticals to geographically dispersed populations. “ He said
M –Pharma is another e-health app startup co-founded by Gregory Rockson, a Ghanaian entrepreneur, the app connects patients, clinicians and pharmacists to find quality medicines at real time and where they are needed most in Ivory Coast and Zambia.
According to Rockston, 1000 patients received their prescriptions through the application in Zambia.
The data generated anonymously by application users is analyzed and collected to build the comprehensive pharmaceutical data platform which can be used in other countries.
Nairobi has become one of large Tech hubs in Africa, known for its incubators and accelerators that provide space for innovators.
Mr. Guhly revealed the upcoming health tech accelerator recently at the end of East African Venture bus tour a tech hub in Kigali.
Experts say Apps that are scalable have the potential to attract investments.
According to Fu, African app developers can attract investments the same way the rest of the world do.
“By building a strong team with relevant experience to execute, a precisely defined CVP (revenue equation where Profits = Sales – Variable Costs – Fixed Costs) and a thought-through and comprehensive go to market strategy,” explained the managing Partner, Vest Africa
Airtel Rwanda partnered with Tecno to bring the latest mobile devices and services to the students of University of Rwanda, Huye Campus.
The event which saw Airtel Rwanda unveiling Freebasics.com, an internet service that allows Rwandans on the Airtel network to access various websites at no cost. At the unveiling of Freebasics.com, Airtel also provided free customer services to the university students.
Tecno, the mobile phone provider of Tecno phones, was offering the students the latest mobile devices at affordable prices. Devices such as; Tecno J8, Tecno C8, Phantom 8 among other devices.
The day which was later capped off with entertainment from Airtel Rwanda brand ambassadors King James and Ama G, who thrilled the young revelers as they sang along to the artists’ songs.
Commenting on the day’s activities, Airtel Rwanda’s Brand & Communications Manager, Clementine Nyampinga said, “We are delighted to have been part of today’s funfair. We believe that the students will take advantage of the Freebasics.com service and use it to gain more knowledge as they advance academically.”
Speaking to one of the students, Jean-Pierre said; “It was a great day and some of us were able to get to know more about the Airtel services and we shall be able to use the Freebasics.com service because it is free and has many websites with the information we might need.”
Through Free Basics by Facebook, Rwandans are now able to access various websites through the Airtel network at no cost. Customers can access a set of free services in categories of health, education, communication, sports, jobs, and local information.
Free Basics by Facebook is available as a mobile browser version for feature phone users on the web address http://www.freebasics.com. Smartphone users can also download the Free Basics app on Android devices through the Google Play store.
Among the free websites to be accessed on Free Basics while using the Airtel network include: Facebook, BBC Africa, Inyarwanda.com, Wikipedia, BabyCenter & MAMA, Dictionary.com, SuperSport, Bing search engine, and several others.
Yesterday ‘Startup World’ competitions – a program to boost startups ,technology entrepreneurship and innovation ,took place in Kigali,Rwanda.
The organizers say that they have identified 36 Tech hub cities around the world and will hold regional pitching competitions, with ten entrepreneurs pitching to a panel of expert judges in each city.
Ms Violette Uwamutara ,the country director of Digital Opportunity Trust Rwanda ,a non-profit organization which partnered with Startup World to organize local competition opened the event and introduced the host Hermione Way ,the co-founder of Startup World and video director of The Next Web.
Kigali event was the third stop in startup world Africa.“In startups and innovation Rwanda put itself on the world map” Ms. Way told the audience.”If you have an idea,a laptop and internet connection you can start your company”.
Rwandan semi-finalists had three minutes to pitch their tech business and then answer challenging questions from the seasoned panel judges.
Kigali panel of proficient judges were:Jacque Kayonga ,CEO of Banque Rwandaise de Development,Prof. Bruce Krough professor at Carnegie Mellon University,Rica Rwigamba Head of RDB Tourisme and Conservation,Patrick Kabagema CEO,founder of Rock Global Consulting and Antoine Sebera CEO ,Broadband System Corporation.
After interesting pitches of local innovators who impressed the audience with their innovative projects which aim to use ICT in solving various local problems in different economy sectors such us agriculture,marketing,education,research etc…the panel broke to deliberate.
After the judges’ break ,Ms. Way announced the Rwandan finalist startup which was Zilincio Creative-a Startup that presented a crowd funding software.According to Startup World founders the winner from each city will travel to Silicon valley for grand showdown in early 2013.
Each semi-finalist company received a gift and got sponsorship opportunity for one team member to learn a business development course.
“We had over one hundred startups applied but we have ten finalists”said Ms. Way ,she thanked and encouraged all semi-finalists for their good work.”we want to bring silicon valley to Rwanda and take Rwanda to silicon valley,”she added
Speaking at the occasion Mr Didier Nkuriyimfura ,the Director General in charge of ICT in the Ministry of Youth and ICT who was the Keynote speaker said :”today is important for our semi- finalists.These questions you were asked will help you to move to the next level.”This competition is one of the series of events we want in Kigali,” he added