5 Health Tech Startups that are revolutionising medical care in Africa

by Karla Cloete

Within the last two decades, mortality rates have drastically declined, which could not have happened without global efforts to reduce child mortality and create equal access to medical treatments, treat epidemics and battle impoverishment and lack of nutrition. 

A large part of this effort is due to funding and due to infrastructure, which is an essential part of decreasing mortality rates in countries across the world. Unfortunately according to the World Health Organization African countries shoulder 24% of the world's disease burden, and must tackle these diseases with less than 1% of the world's health budget. This puts incredible strain on these healthcare systems and makes the right to basic healthcare impossible for some. 

There are amazing initiatives, companies and startups battling these problems with revolutionary health tech. Here are just a few of the health tech companies we loved learning about. 

1. Praeklet.org (South Africa)

During the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa had some of the largest rates of infection and a strict lockdown was implemented. During the pandemic the rapid spread of misinformation worldwide was a massive public health concern, so Praeklet.org decided to partner with the government using something most people already have access to, WhatsApp. 2.6 million South Africans used this bot to learn about the symptoms and treatments of Covid-19 while combatting fearmongering.  

This didn’t just stay local- the solution went global. A month later the World Health Organization began using this bot and they surpassed 10 million users in just three days!

2. Ilara Health (Kenya)

You can’t treat what you can’t name, so in 2019, Emilian Popa decided he wanted to solve this problem. His start-up uses AI technology and robotics to lower the expense of diagnosing patients so that they can receive life-saving and preventative care. Ilara Health reported that they made diagnostic services available to over 500 million people in Africa.

3. 54Gene (Nigeria)

Genetic research is one of the wonders that makes modern medicine possible. From mapping genes that cause disease, and understanding how these genes are passed on to informing diagnosis and treatment protocols this information is the road map to recovery for millions across the globe. However, there’s a pretty big shortcoming in this approach.

Most genetic data that we’ve compiled comes from Europe, North America and the United Kingdom, meaning less than 3% of the data represents the 1.2 billion people living in Africa.

This is where 54Gene fills the gap in our genomic data. Since 2019, Dr Abasi Ene-Obong’s project has been sourcing genomic data with their proprietary Genomics Infrastructure & Insights Ecosystem (GENIISYS™) platform. The folks at 54Gene hope that this data will pave the way for breakthroughs in treatments.

4. DrugStoc (Nigeria)

Due to unreliable supply chains and unequal access to care, the black market for counterfeit, non-regulated and substandard medicine is booming. Each year 100, 000 people in Africa die due to these medicines. DrugStoc is trying to fix that.

Founded in 2015 uses technology and supply change innovations to facilitate a safer interface between the medical and pharmaceutical communities. Their platform is easy to use and simplifies the process giving medical facilities a sure-fire way to know they are providing their patients with the best possible care with certified medicine, faster and safer.

5. Bypa-ss (Egypt)

Medical emergencies can be terrifying for the patient and the family members. But what if the patient cannot speak for themselves, and the family members are unreachable? This is the crisis Dr Andrew Saad dealt with when he couldn’t make life-saving decisions for an unconscious patient with mere hours to live. Medical records are not only essential to providing quality and comprehensive care but can also be the difference between life and death.

Bypa-ss is digitising health information. Their Health Tag approach unifies patient records to be available across healthcare providers, avoiding bureaucracy, and empowering doctors and patients while maintaining security and protecting these documents from unauthorised access.


Many of the problems facing overburdened healthcare systems are historical, systematic, and incredibly complicated. These startups are vital to the lifeblood of these systems and their creative solutions and innovations are saving lives across the continent.

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