Technology is transforming health provision in emerging markets – not only in terms of extending care to underserved areas, but also by allowing hospitals to digitise patient records or provide diagnosis and care remotely. In Nigeria there is considerable scope to facilitate the uptake of medical technology. Indeed, many hospitals continue to store patient records on paper, which results in added administrative work and difficulties when patients seek care in a new location. Electronic medical record systems, therefore, represent low-hanging fruit for prospective investors in the sector.

Telemedicine – traditionally seen as a way to extend care to underpenetrated areas – accelerated significantly during the pandemic, as patients in rural and urban areas alike sought treatment without the need to visit a hospital and risk infection. Seeing its success during the crisis, the government has begun to incorporate telemedicine technology into public health programmes. In the private sector, Tremendoc is a leader in this space. Launched in 2017, the app allows users to consult with a medical professional via chat, video and audio call. A newer entrant, the telemedicine start-up iWello, was founded in July 2021 with a view to attract users at all income levels using payment plans. Originally launched as a website, an iWello app was under development as of early 2022.

The Covid-19 pandemic helped to shine a spotlight on homegrown health technology (health-tech) companies. Founded in 2018, Gricd makes Wi-Fi- enabled “coolboxes” to track and store medical items at appropriate temperatures during transport – a technology that proved particularly useful as the country rolled out Covid-19 vaccines. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency used Gridc to distribute some 4.2m doses of the Moderna vaccine between August and November 2021. Health-tech companies from Africa as a whole saw around $209m in investment in 2021, of which one-fifth went to Nigerian firms. This $41m share was up from $30m in 2020 and $6m in 2019, demonstrating significant growth potential for the health-tech segment.

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