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Nigeria embraces healthtech solutions

Article-Nigeria embraces healthtech solutions

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Digital health tools are helping the Nigerian healthcare industry reduce the burden on its stretched healthcare workforce and improve patient outcomes.

As one of the largest populations in Africa, Nigeria has a significant burden of disease, which creates a strong demand for healthcare services. The country is also facing brain drain, which presents a leaner healthcare force, and a growing middle class in the population of social hierarchy. However, an increasing number of people have access to mobile phones and the internet, which provides a platform for the development and delivery of healthtech solutions. 

The above-mentioned trend of events are influencing the adoption of healthtech trends in Nigeria in 2023, as more healthcare providers and patients are embracing digital health tools to reduce the burden on a stretched healthcare workforce and are helping to address the  healthcare needs of the increasing population, while improving healthcare outcomes. This is also improving access to healthcare and increasing efficiency. 

However, it is not sufficient to laud the growth potential of the healthtech market. In this article, we take an introspective look into what solutions have the potential to transform delivery of care and how they will help stakeholders in the healthtech market make more informed decisions that might metamorphose into investments. 

With the WHO marking its 75th anniversary and calling for a  renewed drive for health equity, this will drive most healthtech solutions to focus on accessibility and affordability because it also corresponds with the present socio-economic reality of the country.  

Below, we explore some areas in the healthtech market that are gaining traction: 

- Mobile health (mHealth) 

With the increasing use of mobile phones in Nigeria, mHealth applications are expected to become more popular in 2023. These applications will help patients monitor their health and communicate with healthcare providers, which could improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. For example, a fast-growing startup, mDoc, connects people to a multi-disciplinary team of providers who have been trained in person-centred care to support them in managing their disease.  

The CEO of mDoc, Nneka Mobisson, says “We’ve had over 100,000 members enrolled on the Complete Health platform, 87 per cent of which are women. The majority make less than US$3 a day, so we’re reaching the most vulnerable populations. We’ve also trained over 8,000 healthcare workers, with partner hubs across Nigeria and Kenya, in managing maternal health, chronic disease, cancer, and more. We’ve seen how a bean grinder who lives in a room with 10 other people and buys two individual blood pressure pills a week can track their blood pressure and learn how to exercise within their means.” 

This is just an example of the work presently going on, which will herald the greater innovations ahead.  

- Solutions that minimise the administrative burden on doctors and other healthcare workers  

It is a known fact that the Nigerian healthcare system has the challenge of brain drain. Solutions developed in this domain will thrive as they support healthcare workers across the board and reduce human resource burnout.  

The solutions will span through telemedicine, which allows patients to consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals remotely. This could improve access to healthcare for people in remote areas and reduce the burden on hospitals. In addition, Health Information Exchange will help appropriately access and securely share a patient's medical information and reduce duplication of tests and treatments with a motive to improve patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs. 

- B2B healthtech companies have a high potential to hold a significant share of the market 

Companies that offer B2B solutions that improve healthcare delivery increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes may have a significant impact and receive strong demand from healthcare providers and healthcare seekers. This negates the possible challenge of navigating complex regulatory frameworks to operate in the country and the possibility of initial resistance by healthcare providers or patients. However, the success of B2B healthtech companies in Nigeria in 2023 and beyond will depend on various factors, including the quality of their products, the ability to navigate regulatory hurdles, establishing partnerships and collaborations with the Nigerian healthcare ecosystem and the ability to deal with cultural barriers. 

Overall, considering the rapid advancement in technology, the future of healthtech in Nigeria is promising. It has the potential to address the country's healthcare challenges, transform healthcare delivery and improve healthcare outcomes for its large and growing population. 

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