In recent years, Africa has been plagued with tough health challenges. With its healthcare system poorly developed, the life expectancy rate in the continent currently lies at 63 years for males and 66 years for females. Much lower than the global average of 71 for males and 73 for females.
To help tackle a part of this problem, Alain Nteff launched Giftedmom in 2012 and he pivoted the company in 2019 to become Healthlane. The startup now offers a wide range of services to Africans.
In September 2020, the company raised $2.4 million to expand its offerings, stating that it had some interesting moves in the works.
On Tuesday, November 9, 2021, Healthlane, announced its official launch in Lagos, Nigeria.
Worthy of note is the fact that the life expectancy in Nigeria is lower than the continental average with 59 to 63 years for males and females respectively, but that might soon be changing.
At an event hosted at the immaculate Healthlane office in Lekki, Lagos Nigeria, Alain Nteff, alongside key Healthlane executives and notable clients shared Healthlane’s vision to use technology to improve healthcare in Nigeria and the benefits of the Healthlane experience.
To kickstart the event, Folu Olumideko, Head, Marketing and Communications gave a welcome speech highlighting the company’s mission to simplify how people track and optimise their health.
Taking up the baton, Healthlane founder and Managing Director, Alain Nteff thanked the team and the clients for the successful launch of the Healthlane app and its world-class healthcare technology to help people live longer and healthy lives.
“I remember in 2019 I knew preventive care was important, but I had no feasibility. No idea about the pricing, and sometimes when you meet the doctor, he asks you what symptoms you’re having so he can prescribe a test. Comprehensive checkup was not really a thing at that time,” he says.
Alain also pointed out that most of those heavily affected by COVID-19 were those with pre-existing health conditions.
“Before 2020, my mom fell sick regularly, and the hospital kept treating typhoid and malaria. I now realised that I had to take her for comprehensive checkups. In 2020, she was one of those that we lost from conditions that could have been prevented. And that was the turning point for us, and we said we need to make preventive care something big in the coming years.”
He also states that before Healthlane, what we usually call healthcare is actually “sick care”.
“So you’re sick, you go to the doctor, give them your symptoms, and they give you prescriptions. That’s what sick care is,” he explained.
“Today at Healthlane, we believe healthcare is about eating well, exercising, supplementing, having checkups, and immunising yourself. If we get this right, then we should be helping everyone live like 20 - 30 years extra and not lose loved ones to preventable illnesses,” he added.
Alain announced that Healthlane has consulted with top health experts across the globe on what would be the right healthcare practices to help people live longer, and he excitedly revealed that the company has been able to execute this with the aid of technology.
“We’ve birthed a world-class lab on-site, and it reports that it has conducted over 70 tests. Apart from doing just tests, we also help identify ways to optimise what has been found or reverse a condition that has been found. We are also launching the Healthlane app which keeps records and implements healthcare plans.”
“Today, people are now comfortable accessing their medical records on their smartphones. They are more concerned about preventing themselves so they don't fall prey to certain diseases. We all know that if you are diabetic or hypertensive, you are more affected if you contract Covid-19 compared to someone who is relatively healthy. There is a growing trend of services being deployed through technology and that is where we have positioned ourselves,” Nteff asserts.
Building affordable healthcare
Building on Alain’s introduction, Dr Lincoln Saiki, one of Healthlane’s in-house physicians, presented a live case study of an individual who looks seemingly healthy to the average observer but had hidden symptoms that could only be revealed through a comprehensive checkup like Healthlane’s.
“As of today, 1 in 17 Nigerians have diabetes, 1 in five Nigerians suffer from obesity, and 1 in 3 Nigerians have high blood pressure and hypertension. You might be wondering how it’s possible to have 75 million Nigerians with hypertension, but it is one of the silent killers. People might have it for years without symptoms and only when it manifests in the form of strokes, heart attack, heart failure, or kidney failure. To date, it remains the largest cause of preventable deaths.” Lincoln revealed.
The doctor explained that Healthlane provides up to 78 different tests, and the results are normally out in 45 minutes. The company also helps to create a feeding, supplement or exercising plan from the result of the test.
First, there’s a body analysis which shows parameters like age, weight, height, body fat among others.
This follows the Baseline checks which involves Heart Health, Diabetes check, Immunity, Kidney Health, Liver Health, Blood, Cancer check, Hormones, Bones and Minerals.
Finally, the company creates a care plan using the insights from the test.
Healthlane’s product manager, Karen Onigbinde, explained that the Healthlane app, which is available on the Google and Apple app stores, makes it easy for people to make the lifestyle changes that are required for them to live long and healthy.
“We have features that let you access your wellness checks, so you can schedule and pay for your wellness appointments, your vaccinations, and your supplements from the Google app. You can also track your health data, and also download them in case you want to consult a second opinion. You also manage your health with a care plan which contains those reminders that tell you to drink water, eat well, and exercise” she detailed.
Karen also revealed that Healthlane would be building a lot more features that will help people access healthier food or make it easier to get on the healthlane.
Most tellingly, one of Healthlane’s clients, Buchi, a fitness expert who loved to keep fit and take care of his health decided to do a comprehensive check with Healthlane, and found out he had deficiencies he didn’t know about. The company then went on to create a distinct healthcare plan to suit his needs.
“It’s easy for you to say I work hard, I’m fit, I don’t have any medical issues, but you never know what’s going on inside of you. I found that my Vitamin D was low, but I’ve had an amazing experience with Healthlane to help adjust this issue.
Another client, Nadayar Enegesi, CEO of Eden Life also praised the Healthlane experience, pointing out that he had always been wary of hospitals and had never tried to do any check ups even when recommended.
“I was just amazed at the experience. There were about 78 tests that were run, and I really appreciated the detail that the solution went to educate me about what is going on in my body. We worked through the care plan and I got some supplements. I was also advised to change my diet to include more fruits and nuts,” he briefly recounted.
Are the services affordable?
The company offers a wide range of affordable wellness products for individuals.
“We’ve signed up health insurance services providers like Hygeia HMO and Reliance HMO and anyone covered by them can access our healthcare services,” said Damola Ajayi, Healthlane’s head of Sales and Business Development.
She then revealed that there are three affordable pricing packages available.
- World-class check where you do as much as 95 tests for just ₦105,000 ($266)
- Executive check which is just ₦62,000 ($150) for 69 checks
- Premium package which is just ₦28,000 ($68) for 43 checks.
There are also corporate and HMO plans.
She also explained that Healthlane offers mobile labs for companies who want to test their employees at their offices.
Addressing Techpoint Africa’s inquiry at the Press Q&A session, Alain explained that Healthlane’s services are already gaining traction with a good number of working professionals in Lagos, Nigeria, and he expects the company to gradually expand to other locations in the near future.