In a bid to address growing health challenges in Africa, Norrsken Foundation, a non-profit organisation, has selected five startups, including Nigerian-based Medtech Africa, as winners of its inaugural HealthTech Hub Africa Challenge.
The NGO partnered with the Novartis Foundation that provided a total grant of 85,000 dollars to the startups.
Dr Ann Aerts, Head of Novartis Foundation, who spoke during a zoom event, said that even though life expectancy in Africa had increased by more than ten years, chronic diseases were becoming more.
“We hope the technologies developed at the HealthTech Hub Africa will make a real difference to accelerate detection and access to quality care for chronic diseases.
“Life expectant has increased by more than 10 years in Africa but diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, among others, are on the rise.
“The Novartis Foundation has had a long commitment to improving access to healthcare through breakthrough technologies.
“We know the global health challenge is unprecedented and the health system on the continent cannot meet all the health needs of Africa.
“That is why we are using the power of technology and innovation to scale up the delivery in Africa,” she said.
Pascal Murasira, Managing Director of Norrsken East Africa, said that the five top startups that emerged winners were Insightiv in Rwanda, Medtech Africa based in Nigeria and Klarah in Cameroon.
Others are Afia Group Limited in Rwanda and Lifesten Health from Rwanda.
He said the five were chosen through open competition with the top five start-ups winning financial grants.
The first-place winner insightiv received 30,000 dollars, Medtech Africa 20,000 dollars, while Klarah gets 20,000 dollars.
Afia Group and Lifesten Health received 10,000 and 5,000 dollars respectively.
According to Murasira the hub was designed to accelerate the development of innovative solutions to challenging health issues in Africa.
“We are excited to be launching the HealthTech Hub challenge and hosting the HealthTech Hub Africa at the Norrsken Kigali House.
”This is a space where HealthTech startups can work together and collaborate, which will revolutionise the industry by cutting down the cost of care and democratizing access to quality.
“One of the world’s biggest problems is ensuring better health for the people of Africa in the face of staff shortages, budget constraints and the continuing threat from COVID-19,” he said.