On Friday, January 25, 2019, our TC Townhall: The State of Healthtech in Nigeria, convened leading healthcare innovators, investors and public health stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the sector.

The townhall, which held at the Impact Hub, Ikoyi, Lagos, provided a platform to discuss the current state of the health tech sector in Nigeria and how to harness the opportunities therein to makeup for the pitfalls of Nigeria’s healthcare infrastructure.

In a powerful keynote address, Dr. Ola Brown, Founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, quantitatively highlighted a number of unique healthcare challenges in Nigeria. Here are some of them:

  • the Nigerian government budgets about $6 per individual on healthcare in comparison to Norway’s $6,000 and UK’s $3,000 per individual;
  • compared to conflict regions like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, Nigeria has an abnormally high child mortality rate;
  • a car accident is five times more fatal in Nigeria than it is in the United Kingdom.

According to Dr. Brown, effective healthcare policies must aim to achieve three things: improve quality, expand access and reduce costs. She proposed the following five pillars to base healthcare reforms in the country;

  1. Expanding primary care, which she regards as the cornerstone of any effective healthcare system,
  2. Centralising tertiary care,
  3. Task shifting,
  4. Focus on improving two key health indicators – maternal and child health, and
  5. Sustainable healthcare financing.

Dr. Ola Brown, Founder Flying Doctors Nigeria, presenting the keynote address.

She emphasized the role of digital technologies in leapfrogging obsolete healthcare practices and stressed the need for more innovation in the health tech sector if Nigeria is to match the healthcare systems of countries like the UK and the US.

Following the keynote address, Dr. Wale Adeosun and Dr. Oluwafaradamilola Olayanju, presented our health tech industry report, The State of Health Tech in Nigeria. The report takes an in-depth look at 75 active health tech startups operating in Nigeria, funding received till date, industry sectors they operate in, geographic distribution, among others. It also offers professional recommendations on how to improve upon what is currently obtainable in the health tech sector in Nigeria.

Dr. Oluwafaradamilola Olayanju presenting our health tech industry report, The State of Health Tech in Nigeria.

Dr. Wale Adeosun presenting our health tech industry report, The State of Health Tech in Nigeria.

The first panel session, which followed right after, richly explored the current state of health tech in Nigeria. Moderated by CEO, Efferent, Ezinne Anyanwu, the panel comprised Adesimbo Ukiri, CEO, Avon; Bryan Mezue, CEO, Lifestores Healthcare and Abimbola Adebakin, CEO, Advantage Health Africa. The panel discussed issues around funding and boosting investor confidence, growing businesses that will reach the last mile consumers, and spending on healthcare.

From L to R: Panel Moderator, Ezinne Anyanwu, CEO, Efferent; Adesimbo Ukiri, CEO, Avon HMO; Bryan Mezue, CEO, Lifestores Healthcare and Abimbola Adebakin, CEO, Advantage Health Africa.

At the end of the first panel, we had a triple S takeaway to ponder on; standardization, scale and sustainability. Panelists called for standardization in the sector which will contribute greatly to scaling businesses in the sector, while stressing the need for entrepreneurs to come in with long term play in mind.

The highly engaging second panel, focused on innovation in Nigeria’s health tech sector and was moderated by Ngu Morcho, Managing Director of Yako Medical Africa. The panelists on the session were Dr. Ola Brown, Desiree Craig, Head of Product at Co-Creation Hub and Ifeoluwa Olokode, Partnerships and Growth Lead at Lifebank.

From L to R: Panel Moderator, Ngu Morcho, Managing Director, Yako Medical Africa; Ifeoluwa Olokode, Partnerships and Growth Lead, Lifebank; Desiree Craig, Head of Product, Co-Creation Hub and Dr. Ola Brown, Founder, Flying Doctors Nigeria.

As a key takeaway after the session, Ifeoluwa urged health tech entrepreneurs to “meet customers where they are and change their behaviours” towards digital healthcare solutions. Desiree enjoined entrepreneurs to experiment and stay open to learning new ways to operate.

“While doing all the above, don’t run out of cash,” Dr. Ola stressed.

The townhall also featured one-on-one legal advisory sessions with legal partner, Olisa Agbakoba Legal.

One-on-one legal advisory consultations with Olisa Agbakoba Legal.

We hope you had a great time or that you’d join us for the next townhall, if you missed this one.

Here is a link to the livestream to listen to the keynote address and informative presentation/sessions from the event. Get our deeply researched report, The State of Health Tech in Nigeria, about the health tech industry and the innovative startups working to find tech solutions to Nigeria’s health-related problems. You can also download the keynote address by Dr Ola Brown and watch the highlights of the event here. We will be sharing more video clips from the event on web and social in the coming days, so keep an eye out.

We are grateful to Avon HMO for sponsoring the event. Thanks to Digital Health Nigeria and Stears Intelligence for their professional insights and assistance in the research and execution of the report. We would also like to thank our venue and legal partners, Impact Hub and Olisa Agbakoba Legal, for assisting in making this event an impactful one.

We’ll see you on the next one. But first, some more happy faces from the event:

Kay Ugwuede Author

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