Funding for tech startups to transform Africa’s health systems

People interact as Health Tech Hub Africa launched the next cohort of healthcare change makers across the continent in Kigali, Rwanda on September 8, 2022. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • African startups will also be able to showcase their works at two large hybrid health tech Summits in Kigali. 

Tech startups and other rapidly emerging innovation-driven businesses in Africa will have an opportunity to directly collaborate with continental leaders to transform healthcare systems through the second Africa health tech challenge, organizers said.

The Health Tech Hub Africa September 10 announced the second Africa health tech challenge for tech startups which is part of a new investment push to revolutionize the development of health technologies.

“This helps governments and start-ups to collaborate on data- and technology-enabled innovations that strengthen health systems in Africa,” reads part of a statement shared with Monitor.   

Headquartered in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, the hub “aims to work with local authorities to tackle the largest health challenges in low-income and underserved populations through a catalytic partnership between the Novartis Foundation and the Norrsken House in Kigali, Rwanda.”

During the November 2022 challenge,  the next cohort of healthcare change makers across the continent (selected startups) will benefit from a 10-month health and technology accelerator program, access to a public-private partner network, funding opportunities to validate their innovations in public health systems, and 24/7 access to a state-of-the-art co-working space that offers community engagement and partner matchmaking.

'Opportunity’

The challenge is a competition that selects 30 high-impact pan-African health technology startups and 10 scale ups with business-to-government solutions in the areas of cardiovascular health, breast cancer, virtual care and health, or the use of data for decision making in health. Participating startups are expected to have business models that can deliver transformational population health impact in Africa.

“This is a great opportunity for us to help tackle cardiovascular population health and other health challenges in Africa by leveraging local solutions, validating them, and supporting their integration in local health systems,” said Ann Aerts, the Head of the Novartis Foundation.

“The Health Tech Hub Africa uses its annual challenge to bring together startups from across the health technology environment to innovate and collaborate, with a mission to transform healthcare for low-income and underserved communities,” said Pascal Murasira, Managing Director of Norrsken East Africa.

The statement also noted that the startups from the Health Tech Hub 2022 cohort have since increased their beneficiaries from 113,091 in January 2022 to 634,940 in July 2022, collectively raising more than $10.8 million, and creating over 300 full-time jobs across Africa.

According to Joris Cyizere, Managing Director of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Rwanda, agile multi-stakeholder collaboration is fundamental to fast track health tech innovation while at the same time enabling a direct link between government, civil society and innovators to co-design Health Tech applications that are aligned with policy instruments that enable a conducive environment for innovation.

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