Nigeria’s largest electronic medical records provider, Helium Health, announced on Monday, June 5, that it raised Ksh4 billion for investing in Kenya’s healthcare sector.
Helium Health raised the funds during a second round of funding from investment companies such as Flatworld Partners from the US and Tencent from China.
"We believe in a future where good healthcare is a reality for all Africans, not just the few,” stated Adegoke Olubusi, the CEO of the firm.
The Ksh4 billion funding came three years after they secured Ksh1 billion to expand their business and increase the kinds of service they provide.
One of the products that they plan to use in Kenya is HeliumCredit which allows healthcare companies to loan money from Helium and grow their business.
The company noted that it will work with the US International Development Finance Corporation to give loans to 1,000 healthcare companies, many of which will be in Kenya.
“There are many healthcare facilities making money and are profitable but cannot access financing in Nigeria and most Sub-Saharan African countries because banks don’t have insights into how these hospitals operate.
“HeliumCredit is us essentially leveraging our end-to-end software product and providing a digital financing solution where our customers can apply for financing and get responses in under 48 hours,” noted Helium in a statement.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a major challenge facing the healthcare sector in Africa is a lack of capital coupled with a lack of adequate healthcare workers. Africa has 1.55 health workers per 1,000 people, a figure way below the WHO-recommended 4.45 workers.
With this in mind, Helium plans to use its software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems to improve the health worker-to-people ratio. They also target to move healthcare facilities to online record keeping rather than paper records. Digital records will put the facilities in a better position to get loans.
“We’ve noticed healthcare facilities trying to digitise because they want more access to financing.
“As they access long-term loans while we provide them with financial training and tools, they have a stronger incentive to want to digitize because part of the reason they haven’t been lent to historically because of the lack of a digital system which we now provide,” explained Helium’s CEO, Adegoke Olubusi.