48 episodes

What does it take to disrupt traditional ways of fighting poverty, delivering aid, and providing healthcare in Africa? Veteran digital health / healthtech entrepreneur Rowena Luk interviews social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and activists on how they went from an idea to demonstrating impact, raising funds, and creating sustainable social enterprises. For anyone looking for a better way to do good, explore the strategies and tools successful innovators are applying to make change that lasts. AidEvolved.com

Aid, Evolved Rowena Luk

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

What does it take to disrupt traditional ways of fighting poverty, delivering aid, and providing healthcare in Africa? Veteran digital health / healthtech entrepreneur Rowena Luk interviews social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and activists on how they went from an idea to demonstrating impact, raising funds, and creating sustainable social enterprises. For anyone looking for a better way to do good, explore the strategies and tools successful innovators are applying to make change that lasts. AidEvolved.com

    The Future of Pharmacy with Samuel Okwuada of Remedial Health

    The Future of Pharmacy with Samuel Okwuada of Remedial Health

    In the heart of Nigeria's COVID-19 surge in 2020, Samuel Okwuada started receiving a string of phone calls from local pharmacies who were struggling to get stock during lockdown. They needed Samuel to deliver more essential medicines, in smaller quantities, to more locations, at the same or lower costs. This is an impossible equation for any traditional drug distributor to balance - but when it became clear they had no other choice, Samuel knew it was time to create something new.

    This is how Samuel Okwuada pivoted his prior venture, a brick-and-mortar wholesale distributor, into a HealthTech startup that is setting new standards for delivery quality meds, reliably and efficiently, to pharmacists across Nigeria. Today's conversation is a case study on how small pharmacies in Nigeria have historically acquired their stock and how this approach is being disrupted with new technologies.

    While improving health product distribution has a massive potential for impact, it is also a market rife with challenges, politics, and delays. Samuel recalls how, in order to receive regulatory approval for medicines distribution, he needed immense patience and resourcefulness. Patience, to wait the 2 years needed for government licensing, and resourcefulness, because in order to get licensed, he needed to finance an operational warehouse for 2 years with no revenue. Here we see the speed of technological innovation juxtaposed against the pace of brick-and-mortar operations. But Samuel knows there is a better future ahead and is paving the way for that future: one in which Nigerians can rely with confidence on their local pharmacies to provide high-quality meds when and where they are needed.

    Remedial Health is connected to more than 100 pharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers, including GSK, Pfizer and Astrazeneca, as well as Nigeria’s Orange Drugs, Emzor and Fidson Healthcare. Earlier this year, it was one of the African startups that took part in the prestigious Y Combinator programme, the most successful accelerator program in the world. It also banked US$1 million in pre-seed funding to power its growth.

    To find out more, access the show notes at https://AidEvolved.com 

    Let us know what you think of this episode on Twitter (@AidEvolved) or by email (hello@AidEvolved.com)

    • 31 min
    Let’s Get African HealthTech Founders a Seat at the Table

    Let’s Get African HealthTech Founders a Seat at the Table

    Mara Hansen Staples is on a mission to tear down the glass ceiling that stands between African innovators and global funding. She spent years talking to funders behind closed doors in Geneva, D.C., New York, and London. Throughout these conversations, she was always struck by the question: if our goal is to serve African markets, why aren’t there any Africans in these discussions? Today she has spearheaded the launch of Investing in Innovation (i3), a game-changing program to revisit and rethink how the public and private sector come together to support locally led innovation in Africa.

    In this conversation, we trace Mara’s journey from riding motorbikes to deliver vaccines in rural Morocco to the halls of Harvard and the boardrooms of the Gates Foundation. We hear what it’s like to sit in the donor’s seat: both the power and the limitations of that role. And through it all, as we weave through Mara’s professional and personal negotiations with the healthcare system, we learn about the transformative power of technology and the essential need for effective health supply chains.

    Mara is the Founder and CEO of Salient Advisory. Launched in 2020, Salient's work on health tech in Africa has been featured on CNN, CNBC, TechCrunch, Bloomberg, Quartz, Devex, Stanford Social Innovation Review, by the Center for Global Development, the Brookings Institution and many more. Previously, Mara co-founded Impact for Health, and worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she led >$100M portfolio to improve coverage of primary health care through health financing and engagement of the private sector. Mara holds a MSc in Global Health & Population from Harvard, was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco and serves as a member of the advisory board for Nivi, Inc.

    To find out more, access the show notes at https://AidEvolved.com 

    Let us know what you think of this episode on Twitter (@AidEvolved) or by email (hello@AidEvolved.com)

    • 44 min
    Alain Nteff of HealthLane: How to Close Investment, Precision Health, and Building World-Class Laboratories in Africa

    Alain Nteff of HealthLane: How to Close Investment, Precision Health, and Building World-Class Laboratories in Africa

    Alain Nteff is the CEO and Founder of Healthlane. Healthlane delivers precision personal health plans through a network of world-class laboratories in Africa.

     

    Alain's work has been lauded by Bill Gates and honoured by the Queen of England, the President of Rwanda and Rebecca Enonchung. Yet his approach to digital health has undergone dramatic changes over the past ten years.

     

    He started off with GiftedMom, a service providing safe pregnancy messages to pregnant women. GiftedMom reached over half a million women in countries across Africa. But after the hype faded, Alain saw again and again heartbreaking instances of women who traveled long distances to health facilities for a safe delivery, only to receive substandard care when they arrived. 

     

    So, Alain decided to expand the work of GiftedMom to ensure quality care of women in delivery. GiftedMom introduced 'fast-track lanes' within hospitals in order to provide appropriate urgency and quality of care to women in delivery. This was how Healthlane was born.

     

    2020 was a fateful year. Alain was admitted to YCombinator, the most successful startup accelerator in the world. This was the final push Alain needed to tackle preventative health by the horns.

     

    Healthlane today provides premium health quality assessments. It gives people access to a world-class set of comprehensive diagnostics that provide deep insights into the most important machines of our lives: our bodies. And it's available in major cities across Africa like Lagos, Abidjan, Douala, and Nairobi. 

     

    To find out more, access the show notes at https://AidEvolved.com 


    Let us know what you think of this episode on Twitter (@AidEvolved) or by email (hello@AidEvolved.com)

    • 42 min
    Throwback: David vs. Goliath with Mike Quinn of Zoona

    Throwback: David vs. Goliath with Mike Quinn of Zoona

    Mike Quinn was co-founder and CEO of one Africa's earliest major financial technology (FinTech) companies, Zoona. He raised over 35 million dollars of international investment for this Zambian startup - before its heartbreaking crash and Mike's exit from the company.

     

    In the conversation today, Mike shares how this Canadian engineer first came to Africa as a volunteer with Engineers Without Borders. Through early connections and personal initiative, he then found himself leading a Zambian mobile money company. In just a few years, Mike grew Zoona to a company that served millions of unbanked consumers in Zambia and Malawi. But that all changed when their Series C round of financing fell through at the last minute.

     

    This is a classic David vs. Goliath story. Mike and his co-founders were a group of young, ambitious techies who wanted to make life easier for millions of Zambians. To do this, this small company needed to go head-to-head with billion-dollar international phone companies.

     

    The craziest part? They almost won.

     

    All of this and more is covered in Mike's book, Failing to Win, available worldwide through Amazon.


    You can also access the show notes at https://AidEvolved.com or connect with us on Twitter @AidEvolved.

    • 47 min
    Femi Kuti of Reliance Health: Are You Fulfilling Your Mission?

    Femi Kuti of Reliance Health: Are You Fulfilling Your Mission?

    Femi Kuti is the CEO and co-Founder of Reliance Health - an HMO using tech to make quality healthcare delightful, affordable, and accessible in emerging markets. Earlier this year they raised $40M through their Series B financing. This makes it the largest raise of its kind in the history of African health tech.

     

    Despite this success, Femi is a humble down-to-earth man. He opened up with us on the podcast last month about growing up in Ondo City, Nigeria, the child of a physician and a teacher. Even though he trained as a physician and was working as an investment banker on Wall Street, he couldn't resist the allure of Lagos, the emerging Silicon Valley of Nigeria. So he set off on his own to start a digital health venture building telemedicine technology.

     

    The remarkable moment in this story is a fateful conversation Femi had with a partner during his time at YCombinator, the most successful startup accelerator in the world. The partner asked Femi whether digital health alone could achieve the mission Femi had set out to achieve. If not, what would it take? The answer: a LOT. It would take an integrated healthcare system, an insurance program, financing, licensing, a fleet of modern clinics, and a host of third-party clinical partners. But if you never try, you'll never succeed. So Femi pivoted Reliance Health from a pure technology player to a complete HMO solution and integrated healthcare provider.

     

    If you're a founder, idealist, dreamer, or changemaker, listen to this episode to remind yourself of the importance of fulfilling your own mission - and the power of big goals even when those goals feel impossibly hard.

     

    To find out more, access the show notes at https://AidEvolved.com 


    Let us know what you think of this episode on Twitter (@AidEvolved) or by email (hello@AidEvolved.com)

    • 48 min
    Yetunde Ayo-Oyalowo of Market Doctors: Taking Healthcare out of the Ivory Tower

    Yetunde Ayo-Oyalowo of Market Doctors: Taking Healthcare out of the Ivory Tower

    Yetunde Ayo-Oyalowo founded Market Doctors based on the idea of bringing healthcare to people where they live and work. Market Doctors is a social enterprise that deploys doctors and other health workers outside of health institutions and in the public markets of Nigeria. Here they provide healthcare without disrupting the economic activities of communities living on the margins. Market Doctors is challenging assumptions about what healthcare is and where it can be found.

     

    The idea was born when Yetunde was volunteering for her church to raise health awareness in the community. Trained as a doctor, she was able to counsel, diagnose, and treat people in public spaces outside of the traditional hospital setting. A born entrepreneur, she saw an opportunity in the markets where people are already congregating and looking for health advice - and where traditional medical institutions seemed too expensive, too distant, and too inaccessible. So, she pulled up a chair and got to work.

     

    Yetunde is a doctor, an entrepreneur, a Nigerian, a woman, and a mother. When the international nonprofit community wasn't initially receptive to her idea, she went a different route. She turned to faith-based organizations and corporate partners for support. She forged partnerships with banks, pharmaceuticals, and other large corporations to leverage their funds to serve community needs. Today Market Doctors employs 50 people serving 9 states in Nigeria.

     

    To find out more, access the show notes at https://AidEvolved.com 

     

    Let us know what you think of this episode on Twitter (@AidEvolved) or by email (hello@AidEvolved.com)

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

globalwarrior ,

Great job !!

This is such an insightful and informative podcast and so many of the lessons rang true based on my experience working in the systems strengthening space in international settings

Top Podcasts In Business

Ramsey Network
iHeartPodcasts
NPR
Andy Frisella #100to0
Guy Raz | Wondery
Jocko DEFCOR Network

You Might Also Like