Nigeria: Salient Advisory Report Calls On Stakeholders to Accelerate the Impact and Scale of African Health-Tech Innovators

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Nigeria Health Watch in partnership with Salient Advisory recently held a webinar themed "Innovation in Health Product distribution - Key trends and opportunities in Nigeria". The webinar discussed findings from the recently released report, Innovations in Health Product Distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research was conducted in four African countries, including Nigeria bringing to light health tech startups that are using technology to improve the distribution of health products and information.

The webinar brought together diverse leaders in the health distribution industry, public health professionals, researchers, scientists, members of the media and other members of the public with an interest in health.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains and global logistics were severely disrupted, with severe restrictions placed on trade and travel. This led to challenges in access to essential healthcare products like diagnostics and therapeutics and impacted the logistics of products like medicines and medicine consumables coming in and out of Nigeria.

According to Remi Adeseun, Director, Salient Advisory "Medicines play a vital role in health systems and most Nigeria patients believe that their care is incomplete unless there are drugs accompanied with it".

Yomi Kazeem, Senior Consultant at Salient Advisory gave the opening presentation that highlighted some key findings from the report.

Investors, governments, donors and other public health agencies often struggle to understand the key trends and opportunities to engage and advance public health goals, in relation to the commercial innovators ecosystem. The research scope in the report included companies providing solutions for inventory management, B2B marketplaces for product ordering and innovators offering patient engagement services, as well as e-pharmacies and e-commerce operators.

Some of the emerging trends from the report included that innovators were expanding their service offerings to provide end-to-end patient journeys and digitally enabled D2C distribution players are adding channels for telemedicine consultations, while retail pharmacy outlets were adding digitally enabled distribution operations. The report also highlighted that as with most ecosystems, health tech innovators faced challenges and key among them was funding. Another key challenge highlighted revolved around the regulatory environment that currently exists, particularly for telemedicine and e-pharmacy businesses.

Between 2018 and 2021, there has been a significant increase in the number of innovators operating in the ecosystem of health product distribution. This is a positive development and the webinar provided an opportunity for three selected innovators to share their key insights about their innovations.

Dr Ikpeme Neto , Founder WellaHealth explained how his organisation offers micro insurance products that cover the common health care challenges that people face, offering a basic healthcare plan for malaria that gives people access to malaria testing and treatment. He stated during the webinar that "WellaHealth provides access to affordable healthcare and inequality".

Morenike Fajemisin, Founder Whispa Health explained how the app she had developed enabled users to have private chats with doctors about any aspect of their intimate health. They can order sexual health products like HIV tests, condoms and have the delivered to homes or offices in plain packaging to disguise what is inside. "Whispa addresses access to sexual and reproductive health information".

Michael Moreland, Founder Shelf Life explained how his parent company Field, had launched Shelf Life as a service that allows pharmacies to sign up in a bid to outsource their supply chain. Shelf Life supports in the planning, fulfilment and finance of the stock so that pharmacies can focus on sales. According to Mr Moreland "I have been working in Nigeria with government since 2011 and there has been great openness to innovation".

During these challenging times, this was a much needed conversation as it provided an opportunity for disruptive ideas to be brought to the forefront, showcasing health tech startups that are using technology to improve the distribution of health products to patients, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role that can be played by health tech innovators, supporting the public health response and contributing in the fight against the pandemic. This was the general consensus at the webinar, raising the urgency to accelerate and provide the necessary enabling environment for African health-tech innovator in the supply chain to scale up.

About Salient Advisory

Salient is a health care consulting company. We help changemakers enact transformative approaches to health with a focus on technology, financing and partnerships. Learn more at https://www.salientadvisory.com/

About Nigeria Health Watch

Nigeria Health Watch uses informed advocacy and communication to influence health policy and seek better health and access to healthcare in Nigeria. We seek to amplify some of the great work happening in the health sector, challenge the bad, and create a space for positive ideas and action. Through its various platforms, Nigeria Health Watch is a trusted source that provides informed commentary and in-depth analysis of health issues in Nigeria, always in good conscience. Learn more at www.nigeriahealthwatch.com

Contact:

Contact Person: Uche Nwagbooso

Phone number: 08141376913

Email: uche@nigeriahealthwatch.com

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