This week, Africa Health Holdings, a healthcare startup that operates 40 medical facilities across three countries in Africa, said it has secured $18 million Series A funding.
The funding round was led by Asia Pacific Land and Natural World Limited, with the participation of a number of investors including TRB Advisors, Breyer Capital, M3, Inc., Valiant Capital, Kepple Ventures, and SUNU Capital. According to the startup, it has raised a total of $21 million in funding so far.
Africa Health Holdings plans to deploy the funds towards building its “tech-forward healthcare system” across the continent. Specifically, it intends to expand its telemedicine service beyond Ghana to Nigeria and Kenya, and scale its network of health facilities.
Founded in 2017 by Sangu Delle, Africa Health Holdings operates in all three African countries under three brands: Meridian Health Group (in Kenya), Rabito Clinic Ltd (in Ghana), and Care Point Hospitals Ltd (in Nigeria).
Delle is a Harvard and Oxford graduate, a TED Fellow, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and also the former CEO of Golden Palm Investments, an investment holding company with an interest in early-stage opportunities in Africa.
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The founding of Africa Health Holdings was inspired by the need to “address Africa’s disproportionate share of the global disease burden.”
Born and raised in Ghana, Delle witnessed the challenges that everyday Ghanaians faced in trying to access quality healthcare: from proximity to medical facilities, availability of doctors and nurses, access to the right medical equipment, prescriptions, and more.
“My father, a doctor, would often take time away from his private practice to do human rights work, providing healthcare to refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia,” he said. “This all had a lasting impact, making me interested above all else, in changing healthcare for the better, across the continent.”
Delle’s first efforts aimed at improving healthcare in Africa came through Golden Palm Investments (GPI). As the former CEO of GPI, he and his team began making healthcare investments in 2010 and piloted the model for how technology could be leveraged to expand access to healthcare while increasing affordability. In 2017, Delle took his learnings from all the healthcare investments he lead at GPI and founded Africa Health Holdings.
Sangu Delle, founder and CEO of Africa Health Holdings. Image credit: HBS Alumni
In addition to its medical facilities, Africa Health Holdings operates pharmacies and labs throughout each of the countries, to provide its patients with requisite medications and lab results. In all, it serves more than 200,000 patients annually.
A telemedicine mobile platform, MyCareMobile, connects each of the startup’s brands. The app is said to provide patients with access to services through teleconferencing, including medical consultations, access to test results, and 24-hour emergency response.
As mobile penetration increases in Africa, MyCareMobile helps reduce in-person visits by allowing virtual follow-up consultations with doctors and nurses.
“Our online and offline care model allows our patients to access care anytime, anywhere,” Delle said. “We are keeping healthcare costs affordable while broadening the availability of quality healthcare in the countries we operate in.”
Meridian has a total of 16 medical facilities—12 providing outpatient services and inpatient health services in Kenya, three hospitals, and a drug and alcohol recovery centre.
Rabito has a chain of 21 dermatology and general medical facilities, located throughout Ghana while Care Point has two hospitals and one clinic in Nigeria.
The next global healthcare frontier
On Monday, Nigeria-based DrugStoc also announced a $4.4 million Series A fundraising round, led by Africa HealthCare Master Fund, with participation from Vested World and German Development Bank.
DrugStoc is focused on the medical supply chain and operates a digital platform that helps healthcare providers access pharmaceutical and healthcare products. It plans to expand its tech beyond Lagos by investing in cold chain infrastructure and building on its partnerships.
These developments reflect the growth of West Africa’s digital health market as the sector attracts global investors. And according to Delle, the African continent, as a whole, is the next global frontier for healthcare.
“Our population is projected to grow by an additional 1 billion people by 2050, and 1 out of every 4 people in the world will be African,” he said. “We will no longer allow past narratives of infectious, preventable diseases to continue to define Africa, our people, and our future.”
In addition to expanding its footprint within the countries it currently operates within, Africa Health Holdings plans to expand to the Northern and Southern parts of Africa, in line with a grand vision to become “the biggest healthcare provider in Africa”.
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