KENYA – Nairobi-based My Health Africa Group has announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding led by startup accelerator Founders Factory. According to the startup, a few angel investors also joined the round.

My Health Africa allows users to book doctors for consultation offline as well as video consultation with specialists. It also offers OneMed Pro, a subscription-based medical management system for individual doctors, clinics, and hospitals. This system includes electronic patient records, digitized reports, and e-prescriptions.

Digital healthcare system was pretty unknown before Kenya reported its first Covid-19 case last year. In part, Kenyans were used to visiting dispensaries, chemists or hospitals physically to get medical services.

As the need to reduce hospital visits-as much as possible-to combat the spread of the virus rose, so did the uptake of telemedicine.

Now, Kenya’s tele-health start-up space is thriving as demand for virtual health services such as checkups, medicines, referrals, consultations, among other services, rises.

The growth emanates from the need for affordable, innovative and technology enabled systems considering inefficiencies in local hospitals in areas such as medicine supply chain as well as patient management.

Despite the growth, however, the ecosystem is dominated by companies owned by non-Kenyans such as Copia, MYDAWA and Maisha Meds.

Local e-health start-ups are struggling to raise investments owing to low confidence on the part of international venture capitals (VCs).

While high-income countries (HIC) start-up founders as well as local expatriates with international connections find it easy to raise capital, those from Kenya struggle due to lack of confidence among investors.

For example, out of Sh22.1 billion (US$207 million) that was raised by 37 e-health African start-ups last year, Sh13.4 billion (US$125 million) or 82 percent went to seven start-ups such as mPharma (US$52.5 million) and Copia (US$32 million) that are foreign owned.

African innovators who lack ties to high income countries (HIC) find it particularly difficult to raise funding. Receiving education from or garnering work experience in HICs, and having nationals from HICs as founders or co-founders on the team, can play a key role in facilitating access to global investor networks,” a report by health consulting firm Salient titled Innovation in Health Product Distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa notes.

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