Nigeria: Clean Bill of Health - Jumping On the Bandwagon: Technology and Innovation for Health

In the last one year, two Nigerian technology start-ups - Paystack and Flutterwave have jointly raised nearly half a billion dollars in external finance, substantially driven by talent, determination, and private capital.

For a long time, health technology advocates have spoken passionately about the potential of information and communication technology (ICT) for healthcare delivery. It has taken the COVID-19 pandemic for this to be put in stark relief. As countries started to experience active and widespread community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, it became apparent that to avoid a complete halt in the delivery of healthcare services, technology had to be utilised to bridge the gap. So, in wide-ranging healthcare sectors such as mental health, child health, ear/nose/throat surgery, and dermatology, telemedicine has started disrupting the delivery of healthcare.

Additionally, technology has enormous potential to change the way individuals gain financial access to healthcare, and even the way purchasers of healthcare ensure patient data availability and accessibility. However, for this to grow and become sustainable, there is a need to intentionally close the digital divide which is the gap in access to ICT between rural/urban and poor/wealthier populations in African countries and provide an enabling environment for health technology firms with regards to policies, financing, and investment. The success stories in Nigerian tech space have been substantially driven by talent, determination, and private capital. To grow this space universally would require more public sector support.

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