A well-run health system is vital to the wellbeing of any economy.

Compared to the rest of the world, Africa still has a long way to go in terms of healthtech startups. There are lingering issues such as the low doctor-to-population ratio yet to be addressed. With the disruption caused by Covid-19, it's a good time to spotlight some healthtech startups providing innovative solutions to the problems bedeviling Africa's healthcare system.

Here are 25 healthtech startups challenging the status quo and changing the negative narrative about Africa’s healthcare. Each of these startups have received at least $250,000 investment.

1. Ilara Health

Founded in May 2019 by Emilian Popa, Ilara Health provides accessible and affordable diagnostics to the disadvantaged who are reportedly up to 500 million people in Africa.

The startup partners with companies using artificial intelligence and robotics to lower the overall cost of diagnostics and integrates these companies’ devices onto its platform. Ilara Health procures tech-powered diagnostic equipment at affordable prices and make the same equipment available to healthcare facilities who then pay over a period of time.

2. Dabadoc

Zineb Drissi Kaitouni launched Dabadoc in 2013. Dabadoc connects patients with doctors, enhancing the doctor discovery process and enabling patients to find the right care. Axa Assurance Maroc and Orange bought majority shares in the healthtech startup in 2018. Four years before then, Seedstars had named DabaDoc as the best startup in Morocco.

3. Rema Medical Technologies

Medical errors result in more deaths than from malaria and AIDS combined in Africa, according to Sedric Degbo, the founder of Réseau d’Échange Entre Médecins d’Afrique (REMA – African Doctors' Exchange Network). And he hopes that number of medical errors will reduce through the efforts of his startup.

REMA started in 2017 as a social media platform aimed at improving the quality of medical decisions by connecting doctors across Africa. In 2018, Sedric won Seedstars' pitch competition in Cameroon. Now the remote medical assistance service REMA provides is being used by more than 7,000 doctors across Benin, Niger, Congo, Kinshasa, Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Algeria and Burkina Faso.

REMA provides a professional medical network that allows doctors practising exclusively in Africa to publish, discuss, resolve specific patients' cases and work together in real time regardless of distance. Its business model consists of monetising its professional audience via public and private advertisers from within the health sector.

4. mPharma

Founded in 2013 by Ghanaian entrepreneur Gregory Rockson, mPharma is laying the foundation to become the number one e-prescription network in emerging markets, leading with Africa.

Also Read: mPharma, 54Gene, five other African startups named among WEF's 100 most promising Technology Pioneers of 2021

At the height of the recent global pandemic, mPharma closed a $17 million Series C round co-led by the British International Investment (formerly CDC Group) and Novastar. There are over 850 pharmacies and 155 hospitals in mPharama's network.

5. 54Gene

54Gene was founded by Dr Abasi Ene-Obong in 2019.

Also Read: Why African healthtech startup, 54gene's seed raise is important to the rest of the world

Most of the genomic data used for development research across the world (Africa included) is primarily from Europe, North America and the United Kingdom. Less than 3% of genomic data represented in research is from African populations. 54Gene is committed to solving this problem by bridging the disparity gap in genomics data.

6. Helium Health

Helium Health helps healthcare providers to manage every aspect of healthcare delivery by providing technology solutions such as electronic medical records, telemedicine, administrative and financial management, etc. For healthcare funders such as health maintenance organisations and other donor agencies, they manage enrollment, identification, claims submission, claims processing, and reporting to ensure data transparency and cost efficiency.

7. DrugStoc

Every year, Africa records over 100,000 deaths from counterfeit and substandard medication because of unreliable supply chains. DrugStoc is fixing this problem.

Founded in 2015 by Chibuzor Opara and Adham Yehia, DrugStoc's history dates back to 2010 when the duo founded Integra Health, a hospital management company based on Yehia’s master’s degree project.

The startup is revolutionising the way healthcare providers interface with the pharmaceutical market. DrugStoc combines the use of unmatched technology, supply chain innovation, financial solutions, and product knowledge to unlock access to medications in emerging economies.

8. MDaaS Global

Founded in January 2016 by Oluwasoga Oni, MDaaS (Medical Devices as a Service) is designing healthcare products and services that can make it easier for Africans to access and afford quality care.

MDaaS services include BaconHealth Diagnostics and SentinelX. BaconHealth Diagnostic is a modern, tech-enabled diagnostic centre which helps low- and middle-income patients identify health issues early, get access to medical specialists and treatment options, and ultimately live healthier lives. SentinelX is a hybrid digital and physical health management platform which helps patients access primary care both in-person and virtually.

9. Bypa-ss

The idea to build Bypa-ss was born when Dr Andrew Saad found himself in a tight situation where he had to make a medical decision for an unconscious patient whose medical record was not available. None of the patient’s family or friends were around and the patient had only a few hours to live if not treated.

Bypa-ss is digitizing healthcare information exchange between healthcare providers to deliver best quality of care to their patients. HealthTag is Bypa-ss leading health information exchange platform. It’s a platform where medical records get exchanged between patients and healthcare providers.

10. Dawaswift

The Toronto- and Nairobi-based healthtech startup was founded by Odero Otieno in late 2018.

DawaSwift is an on-demand medicine delivery platform that connects pharmacies with patients through delivery partners. The startup is backed by Entrepreneur First and is working on a new product called Healthipy. Through its AI-powered infrastructure, Healthipy enables insurance companies, providers and pharmacies to better engage their customers by offering personalized and compliant health insurance products.

11. MedsToGo

MedsToGo is a web and mobile-based pharmacy and delivery service that is committed to removing all impediments so you don’t miss important medical prescriptions. Based in South Africa, MedsToGo was founded in 2016 by Ebrahim Ally.

12: Vezeeta

Vezeeta is a digital healthcare booking platform and practice management software. With over 200,000 verified reviews, patients are able to search, compare, and book appointment with the best doctors. And doctors can provide patients with seamless healthcare experience through Vezeeta’s clinic management software.

Amir Barsoum and Ahmed Badr founded the healthtech startup in 2012. Vezeeta has managed over three million bookings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, served 2.5 million consumers, and connected more than 10,000 doctors in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Nigeria and Jordan.

13. Dileny Technologies

Dileny Tech provides online and offline solutions for breast workflow called BE-SMART. It improves and complements the diagnostic decisions and enhance screening and diagnostic workflow of breast health professionals.

Since its launch in 2018 by Dr Ahmed Ehab Mahmoud, Dileny Tech has become one of the fast-growing health tech startups in Africa and the MENA region specialized in AI and medical imaging analysis.

14. MedAtlas

MedAtlas is connecting doctors to patients and making it easier to speak with licensed specialist doctors in Africa. Margaret Mutumba, the founder of MedAtlas, is from Uganda. She's passionate about reducing inequality in access to specialist healthcare across the continent, and is striving to achieve this through her company.

15. Medsaf

After a close friend died from taking a fake malaria drug, Vivian Nwakah co-founded Medsaf, an online pharmaceutical marketplace, with Temitope Awosika, who is a pharmacist. The startup is a medication marketplace for hospitals and pharmacies.

About 160 hospitals and pharmacies purchase medications through the platform on a monthly recurring basis. It also has partnership over 100 suppliers, including the largest pharmaceutical companies. Medsaf won the Seedstars Malaria Challenge in 2019.

16. Healthtracka

Healthtracka allows users to book health screening tests from the comfort of their home and get test results delivered within 1-3 days via email. The health tests offered include COVID-19 PCR test, sexually transmitted disease test, and full body checkup. All test results are reviewed and confirmed accurate by medical professionals before they are released.

Driven by Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson, the startup joined the Techstars Toronto Accelerator programme in 2021 barely five months after launch. Last year December, it also partnered with Fleri Inc., a United States-based insurtech startup enabling immigrants to provide healthcare for their loved ones back home.

17. Africa Health Holdings

Based in Ghana, Africa Health Holding is expanding its telemedicine service to countries like Nigeria and Kenya. The startup’s MyCareMobile app provides patients with access to a wide-range of services through teleconferencing, including consultations with their doctors. Other services include access to test results, and 24-hour emergency response.

Led by Sangu Delle, Africa Health Holding seeks to expand its footprint across East, North and Southern Africa. About 200,000 patients use its telemedicine platform for referrals and treatment annually.

18. Nawah Scientific

It was launched in March 2015 by a group of young Egyptians scholars who graduated from different top universities around the world. These young scholars seek to democratise research to enable scientists regardless of where they are, to step in and tackle meaningful research questions.

The startup is the first, private, multidisciplinary research center in Egypt catering for natural and medical sciences. Nawah is a core platform of high-tech research equipment that provides a multitude of services to the MENA region through an online platform, a world-class caliber of scientists and a strong logistic network.

Currently led by Omar Shoukry Sakr, Nawah Scientific has established itself as an integral part of Egypt’s pharmaceutical industry, and has so far analysed over 100,000 samples from more than 3,500 clients across 12 countries.

19. Rology

Rology is an Egyptian healthtech startup connecting hospitals and other healthcare providers with remote and readily available radiologists. It was founded in 2017 by Amr Abodraiaa, Moaaz Hossam, Bassam Khallaf, and Mahmoud Eldefrawy.

As it is on-demand, the hospitals that engage Rology’s service only pay when they use it — and how much they pay depends on the type of report. And for qualified radiologists, the platform offers the option to work from anywhere in the world as long as they’re connected to the internet and have access to a laptop.

20. RecoMed

Upon a brief stay in the United States, Sheraan Amod experienced for the first time what it was like to book medical appointments online. This wasn’t the case in his home country, South Africa. Inspired, he returned to South Africa to build RecoMed, what he called "booking.com for healthcare".

RecoMed is a marketplace where patients can find and book services with healthcare professionals across South Africa. Patients can search and browse practitioner profiles, check reviews and then book a physical or virtual appointment from the app or website. Over 2,200 contracted health providers are on RecoMed and more than one million people use the platform annually.

21. Redbird Inc

Redbird believes health monitoring should be quick and convenient so people can check their health and move on with their life.

Redbird enables pharmacies in Ghana to add rapid diagnostic testing for 10 different health conditions to their services. These tests include anaemia, blood sugar, blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol, Hepatitis B, malaria, typhoid, prostate cancer screening and pregnancy.

The startup provides pharmacies with the necessary equipment, supplies and software to make this possible. The startup was co-founded by Patrick Beattie (CEO), Andrew Quao (COO) and Edward Grandstaff (CTO) in 2017.

22. 3X4 Genetics

3X4 Genetics is a genetics-based health platform. The company combines advanced genetics testing, nutritional genomics education and a global network of accredited practitioners to provide data on the identified gene pathways and health analytics, therefore, enabling clients to predict and monitor genetic diseases to make sound lifestyle choices.

Founded by leading nutrigenetics pioneer Dr. Yael Joffe in 2018 and based in South Africa, the startup is currently led by Michael Hubbard who is the Chief Executive Officer.

23. Hi BLANCE

Hi Blance was launched in the wake COVID-19 pandemic by Charles Chiagoziam. Hi Blance is on a mission to change the traditional way in which people access and seek emergency medical attention in Nigeria and across the globe.

The startup's primary objectives is to provide an ambulance Service, medical travels, sales and purchase of medical emergency equipment and general contracting. Hi Blance’s online emergency medical services enables booking an ambulance online, finding the closest medical centers, purchasing emergency medical equipment online as well as helping patients make smart choices when seeking medical attention locally or internationally.

24. Healthlane

Healthlane, a Cameroonian and Nigerian health startup, is making it easier to take up the responsibility of wellness, and make the choice to live healthier, saving more money in the long term. The startup connects users with quality and affordable healthcare services.

Healthlane was founded in 2020 by Alain Nteff, and its user base has grown to more than 60,000. The startup participated in the Y Combinator Winter cohort of 2020.

25. Waspito

Waspito was created in April 2020 by Jean Lobe Lobe. It is an application that brings together several services – from telemedicine to drug delivery – and discussion groups where practitioners provide advice to users. It aims to prevent, rather than cure.

Waspito was launched in Cameroon, where it has managed to sign up 30,000 users. The startup seeks to bring Africans into the conversation of driving affordable and accessible quality healthcare across the continent.

Jean Lobe Lobe is not ashamed of the fact that he is ambitious. In fact, his goal is to create the ‘Facebook for health’. Already, Waspito has some major backers, including French mobile operator Orange which invested $500,000 in November 2020.