October 17, 2021

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Startups Look to Tap Into Africa’s Telehealth

African telehealth is looking like it could hit a boom with more mobile connectivity and better innovations to bridge the doctor-patient ratio gap, a report says.

MPharma, a Ghanaian startup, is looking to open 100 virtual centers across seven African markets in the next six months.

The report says mPharma’s end goal is to “deliver quality primary care” and that the company wants to provide more medical examinations.

Founder and CEO Gregory Rockson has said that the company already provides 10,000 physician consultations to patients at the startup’s network.

The new system, he said, would be able to reach more people and work more efficiently.

Rockson said the idea of the expansion is to reach more people who don’t currently have the right level of care access.

“We saw this as an opportunity to leverage our pharmacies as virtual doctor offices so that patients could get examined remotely during a virtual consultation. This is what makes mPharma’s telemedicine unique,” Rockson said, per TechCrunch.

MPharma was founded initially to manage prescription drug inventory for pharmacies and suppliers. It also runs retail pharmacy operations and gives market intelligence for hospitals, pharmacies and patients. And the company has the backing of pharmaceutical experience from former CVS and Novartis members.

The company says it plans to use its network to build a “digital primary care service” which will offer all-in-one diagnostic services with digital “stethoscope, otoscope, thermometer, and examination camera” along with built-in illumination for high-definition skin and throat images, along with rapid diagnostics tests.

In other Africa-based news, Google plans to invest $1 billion in the country in the next five years in order to bolster internet connectivity and help companies get more financial backing. The tech giant introduced its Africa Investment Fund, which will allow startups access to its employees and tech during the Google for Africa event.

Learn more: Google Pledges $1B to Boost Internet, Startups in Africa

Google also is teaming with Kiva, a nonprofit, to offer $10 million in low-interest loans for small businesses in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

This comes as 57 percent of the African population is without a traditional bank account. But many of the 100 million people on the continent are connected digitally and want to do more with digital innovation.

 

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: DIGITAL BANKING STUDY – THE BREWING BATTLE FOR WHERE WE WILL BANK

About: Forty-seven percent of U.S. consumers are shying away from digital-only banks due to data security worries, despite significant interest in these services. In Digital Banking: The Brewing Battle For Where We Will Bank, PYMNTS surveyed over 2,200 consumers to reveal how digital-only banks can shore up privacy and security while offering convenient services to satisfy this unmet demand.

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