A South African health-tech company Udok has sealed $613 000 (ZAR 10 million) in Venture Capital funding from FinX capital.
The money raised will be used to spearhead expansion. The Capetown-based startup has partnered with Clicks Stores to provide consultations in Click’s pharmacy clinics. With Clicks being one of the largest pharmacy retailers in South Africa, this will give the firm access to a large clientele base.
The company also plans to roll out laboratory testing using the Clicks network to provide lower-cost testing services for patients. Currently, the costs of laboratory testing are above the reach of many.
Founded in 2018, Udok enables individuals to access healthcare services via a digital platform. This includes virtual consultations with doctors, receiving prescriptions, and getting access to remote admissions.
The company uses smart technology for examinations during the consultation and allows users to access their health records from anywhere. Leveraging a digital ecosystem comprising software and hardware the company offers video-based conferencing with medical practitioners and the smart tech systems help doctors to give an accurate diagnosis.
“The company is proud to be appointed by The Clicks Group, the largest pharmacy retailer in South Africa, to deliver online consultations to their pharmacy clinics. This is a fundamental move towards making healthcare more convenient to South Africans and the rest of Africa.’’
“Our mission is to make healthcare accessible to everyone on this continent through the use of a smart device which can be the patient’s own or with the help of a nurse.”
Founder and CEO of Udok, Dr Petrus van Niekerk
The need for health-tech in Africa
The COVID-19 pandemic shined the light on the need to do things differently. The necessity for social distancing to flatten the infection curve highlighted the growing need for innovative solutions to healthcare delivery.
The High Tech Health: Exploring The African E-health Startup Ecosystem Report 2020 revealed that the health technology space in Africa has 180 ventures currently in operation reflecting growth of over 56.5%. The sector has raised USD 90 million in funding.
The COVID pandemic has created an opportunity for African health tech startups to increase their footprint and enhance the level of innovation in this sector.
There is huge potential within this space across Africa. Infrastructural challenges affect the delivery of healthcare with many governments unable to cope with healthcare delivery in the public system.
Outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola, Malaria, Cholera, and HIV/AIDS across the continent have exposed the structural and funding deficiencies in the continent’s healthcare system.
Apart from outbreaks, the provision of systemic healthcare such as pre and post-natal care has been a challenge.
The high cost of health within the private provided health care centres at present is prohibitive and simply out of reach for the majority. This creates space for targeted lower-cost health-tech innovations to gain traction. There is a growing demand for products and services in the health tech industry.
Digital health offerings create answers to the many challenges affecting the health care sector in Africa.