From medication lockers for reducing patient-waiting times to producing low-cost birth kits using the power of mobile technology, African entrepreneurs are making waves in the healthtech industry that are saving lives.

Twenty African entrepreneurs from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa have arrived in London to take part in the first Go Global Africa programme, organised to help them improve their business skills and capabilities.

The campaign is a hugely successful innovation scheme part of the UK government’s efforts to create mutually beneficial partnerships with Africa.

The initiative was announced by British Prime Minister Theresa May in August 2018, in an effort to boost digital inclusion across the region, working with tech hubs in the three countries.

Digital Minister Margot James said: “It is fantastic to welcome these talented entrepreneurs to the UK.

“Africa is a vibrant and dynamic continent, with huge potential for growth, and the firms chosen for the first Go Global Africa programme see tech as a force for good in society.

“I’ve no doubt they have the talent to play a transformative role in their countries’ growth while also building connections for UK start-ups in new markets and highlighting Britain as the place to develop new technology.”

Here we pick out the top digital healthtech African entrepreneurs who’ll take part in the two-week Go Global Africa programme.


African entrepreneurs

Ethredah Chao Mwalwala

African entrepreneurs
Ethredah Chao Mwalwala (Credits:LinkedIn)

Ethredah Chao, CEO and co-founder of Afya-Plan, holds a degree in computer science from Egerton University in Kenya and is also a software test engineer at Microsoft.

Ms Chao has always been interested in ways technology could help her community, and worked on a hardware device project with support from the Kenyan Red-Cross society to solve the problem of slum fires in Kenya by detecting the possibility of a fire occurring.

With the long term goal to reduce child mortality rates in Kenya and save millions from poverty, Ms Chao founded Afya-Plan to help small micro-savings accounts afford healthcare services.

In 2017, it was named the “Most Promising App” by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the International German Forum in Berlin, themed “Global Health and Innovation.”


Tochukwu Chiemeziem Egesi

African entrepreneurs
Tochukwu Chiemeziem Egesi (Credits: LinkedIn)

CEO of The Innovation Corner Tochukwu Egesi is a product developer and a finance professional with a degree in economics from Abia State University and has an ACA certification in accounting and finance from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

He aims to improve the field of technological innovation which he believes is “a loop the government has left  open” and make an impact beyond the shores of Nigeria by working to end poverty using human-centred design and offline technology.

Based in Nigeria, The Innovation Corner creates products such as the “RemindMe,” which helps with vaccine delivery for child immunisation for sickle cell disease available in Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Malawi.


Dr Abiodun Akanji Adereni

African entrepreneurs
Abiodun Akanji Adereni (Credits: LinkedIn)

CEO and founder of HelpMum Dr Abiodun Adereni launched the Nigerian health service provider that tackles the death of pregnant women by using low-cost innovations and the power of mobile technology.

The birth kits include surgical blades, delivery mats and other tools needed for a safe home delivery, avoiding infections.

In 2018, it won the start-up category of the United Nations Youth Pitch competition from among 12 social entrepreneurs selected from across the world.

His company was also one of the four winners of the first-ever Google Impact Challenge Africa, Nigeria 2018 to receive a $250,000 (£188,000) grant.


Ralph Gbenga Oluwole

African entrepreneurs
Ralph Gbenga Oluwole (Credits: LinkedIn)

Head and co-founder of Helium Health Mr Ralph Gbenga Oluwole holds a degree in mass communication from Redemeers University, Nigeria.

Helium Healthcare’s tech is a smart all-in-one electronic health record for Africa.

It’s user-friendly software for hospitals and clinics to manage patient data and hospital management, helping to streamline their practice, reduce waste and increase their standard of care.


Neo Valentine Hutiri

African entrepreneurs
Neo Valentine Hutiri (Credits: LinkedIn)

Neo Valentine Hutiri, founder of Technovera, is a University of Cape Town electrical engineering graduate who launched his company in 2016.

Mr Hutiri’s personal challenges played a major role in launching the digital health company when he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis in 2014 and struggled with long waiting times at the clinic that lasted over three hours.

Based in South Africa, the technology start-up developed Pelebox Smart Lockers, which allows people with chronic conditions to collect their repeat medication in just a few minutes as opposed to waiting several hours in long queues.

In 2016, Mr Hutiri was one of the two winners to receive 1m rupees (£10,000) for coming up with an original digital solution.


Fanie Hattingh

African entrepreneurs
Fanie Hattingh (Credits: LinkedIn)

CEO and founder of Health Solutions Africa Dr Fanie Hattingh is on a social mission to help solve challenges through technology integration and exponential systems design to impact communities.

Based in South Africa, the team created a cloud-based data aggregator, connecting healthcare professionals from across the continent.

Launched in 2013, the company works as “digital glue” using AI ​that connects people, processes, places, systems and technologies.