In Africa, start-ups save lives
From Cameroon to Morocco, start-ups make digital a weapon to fight against medical deserts. Some of them will be in Paris for Viva Tech.
It flies to the rescue of future mothers to remote areas, even shaken by the jihadists of Boko Haram. Founded in Yaoundé (Cameroon) in 2013, start-up Gifted Mom (a talented mother, in English), who participates in Viva Tech, has developed an application to remind pregnant women and new mothers of vaccine dates or consultations to to do during and after pregnancy. An algorithm allows, moreover, to send personalized messages, depending on the age of the infant in particular.
“A team of 12 full-time staff, 2 doctors and 4 field workers work with more than 30 nurses in hospitals in Cameroon,” says Alain Nteff, the founder, who wants to fight against infant mortality (51 deaths per 1,000 births, in 2017). Supported by a multi-award winning South African incubator and the United Nations, her company has supported more than 130,000 women. Available in local languages, the free app has been downloaded to Senegal and Uganda.
Financing with prices
In search of a viable business model, Gifted Mom plans to charge additional tips. “A special service to mobile operators has been tested and has shown that users are willing to pay up to 50 CFA (Editor’s note: 0.08 €) per week,” says Alain Nteff.
Selected by multinational Sanofi, a partner of Viva Tech, other companies fighting against the medical deserts in Africa are financed by the prices gleaned around the world. The South African start-up Vula Mobileen has won a dozen since its creation in 2014. Its application connects health workers, intervening in rural areas, and specialist doctors, based in the city. For example, an ophthalmologist from Johannesburg receives information about a patient in the depths of Swaziland and then gives advice without moving.
The young Ghanaian company Bisa has also focused on the rise of the smartphone in Africa. Its app allows to interact with the staff of a hospital, although located two hours away.
Export to India
Other African start-ups, present from 24 to 26 May in Paris, ensure saving lives. This is the case of SOS Santé, a young growth company with 5 employees based in Casablanca (Morocco). Connected to the cigarette lighter of a car, its case alerts by SMS the nearest emergency services in case of accident. “Machine learning algorithms help prevent accidents,” says Khalid Machchate, the 26-year-old co-founder. And to confide: “I studied the shortcomings of emergency calls when a member of my family had to wait two hours after a car accident. ”
Insurers buy this system connected between 250 € and 340 € for their private customers. “Companies also use it to track their fleet of vehicles,” says the engineer. SOS Santé, which has already sold 200 boxes, plans to sell 10,000 boxes by mid-2019, in Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria and India.