When the pandemic hit in 2020, the world was thrown into the need for technological intervention. This pandemic revealed a number of weaknesses in our systems; one of which was the health sector. That year, through 2021, we saw the health sector, along with several others, invest more in innovative technologies.
Salient Advisory in its 2021 health-tech report explained that over 60 new innovators joined the health-tech space and more are expected to join. While we look forward to what 2022 holds for health-tech, here are the biggest African health-tech flexes of 2021.
Health Product Distribution
One of the greatest challenges of the African health space is getting the needed products across to those who need them. Most of these startups in 2021 actively worked to transform health product distribution. The biggest of these innovators are the e-commerce giants who extended their services to include product distribution. They include Africa’s Jumia, Nigeria’s Konga, and Kenya’s Copia,
Telemedicine, also referred to as telehealth, had its fair share of innovation in 2021. It is the use of digital communication technologies such as computers, mobile phones, and tablets, to facilitate the delivery of healthcare services. Today, more people communicate with their healthcare givers over the internet.
Examples of innovators here are Waspito and Dabadoc. Waspito provides services from consultation to drugs purchases. It is available in Cameroun and is currently being set up in Gabon and Nigeria. Dabadoc, available in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, provides access to healthcare with a disruptive online booking technology.
We all know that one person who just got in medical or pharmaceutical school, one thing (s)he would never stop talking about or referring to is Medscape. Medscape is that platform where health professionals get access to medical information. Réseau d’Échange Entre Médecins d’Afrique, Rema, is a Cotonou-based social media platform dedicated to African practitioners so that they can exchange knowledge and feedback with one another.
Healthcare IoTs and Wearables
When the pandemic first hit, a lot of people went overweight. 2021 had more people pay attention to their physical health. More people wore smartwatches to monitor their heart rate. These devices also have pedometers and blood oxygen saturation measurement sensors.
Other trends that are globally popular, but couldn’t quite make it to the African list include AI apps for mental health, extended reality in healthcare and surgical procedures, data security and analysis, bioprinting (printing new organs) and much more.
In 2022, we should be positive that healthcare technology will continue to improve. More products and startups will show up to provide us with improved and efficient healthcare services using AI technologies, machine learning techniques and extended reality.