It seems like there isn’t a single industry on the planet that hasn’t
felt the impact of the technology revolution. The internet, as well as
the portable electronic devices used to access it, have played a big
role in shaping the world’s business landscape, erasing the drawbacks of
distance and opening up new market channels and frontiers.
In Nigeria, talk about the role technology is playing in business has
focused largely on eCommerce and Fintech. But these aren’t the only
things to have come out of the marriage of ICT and business. Healthcare
is also being transformed, thanks to innovative startups which have
sprung up over the past five years to eliminate the constraints of
traditional systems and turn whole processes on their heads. These
Health-tech ventures are redefining the business of healthcare in
Nigeria, bringing it into the modern age and giving people the chance to
enjoy a better quality of life.
Here, we’ll take a look at the outstanding healthcare startups that
are revolutionizing various aspects of healthcare in Nigeria.
This startup was launched in 2016 by Dr. Ahjoku Amadi-Obi, a Nigerian
physician who is also a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons,
Ireland. Hudibia’s online platform allows users to find and consult with
doctors within Nigeria and across the world. It also enables them to
book appointments and make in-app payments for services rendered by
professionals on its platform. Amadi-Obi, himself an expert in
telemedicine, says that Hudibia is “an integrated healthcare solution
that leverages emerging technologies to alleviate the challenges of
delivering optimum health in a resource-challenged environment.”
Given the fact that there’s a severe shortage of certified and
practicing healthcare practitioners in Nigeria, Hudibia could become a
major player in the disruption of the country’s inadequate and
inefficient traditional healthcare system. It’s still new to the
business neighborhood (even by startup standards) but it has great
This startup is known for its flagship product, the Omomi app. It’s a
mobile platform designed for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Signed
up users are given access to vital maternal and child health
information, as well as advice from medical experts. Services available
also include an immunization tracker, diarrhea management, and health
facts about topics ranging from food supplementation and breastfeeding
to family planning.
Mobicure was founded in 2015 by Dr. Charles Akhimien and a friend
from his undergraduate days, Dr. Emmanuel Owobu. Dr. Akhimien thought up
the idea that became Mobicure after witnessing the death of a young
mother’s baby. He believes that such deaths are preventable, and he
wants Mobicure to be a part of the solution.
In 2015, Femi Kuti founded Kangpe, a mobile platform which aims to
let Nigerians have “doctors in their pockets.” It’s a service that
connects people with verified doctors and makes it possible to get
advice from them on symptoms, diagnoses and possible treatment (advice
given by healthcare professionals via Kangpe are based on the
information supplied by users of the service). In effect, the Kangpe app
solves the problem of distance between people in need of healthcare,
According to Kuti, “the whole idea of Kangpe was born because it was
clear that people always had issues they wanted to discuss with the
doctors that weren’t considered serious enough to warrant a visit to the
Responding to the claim that services like those offered by Kangpe
could pose a threat to brick-and-mortar hospitals, Kuti insists that he
doesn’t intend to provide an alternative to physical consultations with
doctors. Perhaps a good evidence of this is the fact that the Kangpe app
also has a feature that gives its users the option of booking
appointments for physical meetings with doctors.
Safermom is a technology-driven maternal health information provider
which helps women monitor and track their pregnancy and baby’s
development via SMS, voice calls, and the Safermom mobile app. Through
its communication channels, thousands of pregnant women and nursing
mothers have accessed vital custom-made information from hospitals and
clinics, diagnostic centers, and NGOs.
As a tracking tool, the Safermom service comes in handy for women who
want to keep tabs on their pregnancy, child development, immunization
and antenatal attendance. They can also get referrals to comprehensive
health care centers if need be.
Only a few Nigerian startups have succeeded in attracting as much
interest from beyond the shores of the country as LifeBank has. Its work
has been covered by the BBC, CNN, and Newsweek, to mention a few. And
it’s all for a good reason. LifeBank’s business is about the supply of a
universal symbol of life: blood.
LifeBank is a “smart blood system” that connects hospitals in need of
blood with blood banks. This bit of its work is important for one major
reason: not enough blood is being donated in Nigeria, and as a result,
the little that’s available has to be used efficiently. But because
there’s inadequate information about plasma stocks and blood types
available at blood banks, hospitals regularly have severely depleted
blood supplies. LifeBank is working to eliminate the information
asymmetry that gives rise to this problem.
Another part of LifeBank’s operations is connecting would-be blood
donors to blood banks. Again, because voluntary blood donation in
Nigeria is so low, this side of LifeBank’s life-saving work is very
crucial. With the LifeBank app, potential donors can sign up to help
those in need of blood.
If LifeBank’s founder Temi Giwa-Tubosun has a list of favorite
endorsements of her startup, she’d probably have Mark Zuckerberg’s
commendation on it. Zuckerberg’s words: “If she (Giwa-Tubosun) can
actually pull it off, she’ll show a model that will impact not just
Lagos, not just Nigeria, but countries all around the world.”