November 13, 2020

Healthcare Innovation in East Africa: Navigating the Ecosystem

Last week the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) released a white paper, Healthcare Innovation in East Africa: Navigating the Ecosystem. This report summarizes the wisdom of over sixty stakeholders in East Africa and analyzes the opportunities and gaps in the healthcare innovation ecosystem, spotlighting examples of innovation in the region. It looks at country and regional healthcare trends as well as the conditions for the healthcare entrepreneurial environment. It then examines the mechanisms for supporting and growing innovation and offers suggestions on how diverse stakeholders in the region can work together to navigate connections and chart a course toward improved health outcomes.

50% of all hospital admissions and deaths in Kenya are related to non-communicable diseases. By 2030, non-communicable diseases are projected to be the leading cause of death in Africa.

This is just one statistic that highlights the healthcare challenges East Africa faces. Yet even with these challenges, a system ripe for innovation and opportunity exists, with the Thomson Reuters Foundation naming Nairobi as a hot spot for social impact entrepreneurs.

Navigating the healthcare ecosystem in East Africa can present a challenge to many of these burgeoning entrepreneurs. The SEAD team took a look at the ecosystem to discover the role of public and private sectors in spurring innovation, challenges with the health financing market in Kenya and Uganda, and what innovation environment and support systems are currently in place in the two countries.

The outcome is our latest white paper, Healthcare Innovation in East Africa: Navigating the Ecosystem. Authors Patricia Odero, Sylvia Sable, Jennifer Cook, and Krishna Udayakumar interviewed key stakeholders in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, uncovering current ecosystem trends, including:

  • Creating patient and provider networks
  • Improving quality of care
  • Developing technologies that improve efficiency and financial sustainability

The white paper also explores a number of implications for healthcare entrepreneurs, investors in the region, and government entities, such as the value of partnerships with the public sector to scale healthcare innovation in East Africa and the opportunities that exist in the digital health space that require connecting the dots between the health and tech industries.

A big thank you to the numerous people interviewed to help us explore the healthcare innovation ecosystem in East Africa and the potential for innovation and scaling impact in the region!

Download the white paper here.

Originally posted by the Social Entrepreneurshp Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) here.