Earlier this week, health tech startup mPharma’s CEO Gregory Rockson tweeted: “I like to think that mPharma is this way as well. Software to organize health data (Bloom) + operating pharmacy retail (QualityRx) + PBM (mutti) + logistics infra (VMI) + telemedicine (mutti Doctor) + diagnostics (mLab) etc,” in response to a Elon Musk tweet where he opined that Tesla might as well be multiple startups. The tweet caught my attention and made me think about the vast opportunities for innovation that exist in Africa’s healthcare sector.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that even though Africa carries 25% of the world’s disease burden, its share of global health expenditures is less than 1%. But it gets worse—the continent manufactures less than 2% of the medicine it markets and sells to healthcare facilities, hospitals, and pharmacies.
Africa will need to leverage innovation to establish a stronger health workforce and infrastructure, increase life expectancy—currently 64.5 years to surpass the global average of 73 years (for both sexes)—and achieve self-sustainability in the event of another global health crisis.