WellaHealth, a Nigerian healthtech startup, has launched Healthsend Africa in Kenya. This announcement comes after the launch of the subsidiary in Nigeria in June 2023.
Healthsend says it expanded to Kenya because it has a large and significant diasporan community with healthcare challenges similar to the Nigerian market. It also has strong ties with Kenya's local health and technology ecosystem.
“We have willing partners helping us make it easier to serve the loved ones of Kenyans living in the diaspora. After our launch in Nigeria, some Kenyans living abroad kept asking when we would launch in their country. We are now delighted to go live in Kenya to serve them.”
Immigrants can use the service to top up a website wallet system and pay for many healthcare services the company offers for their family members in Nigeria and Kenya. The service is available to immigrants in the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.
Immigrants send money home, also known as remittances, to support their families, which helps to alleviate poverty and improve well-being. Remittances to Africa more than doubled in the last ten years, surpassing foreign direct investment (FDI) and official development assistance (ODA) funding, and reached $100 billion in 2022.
A 2022 World Bank Migration and Development report estimates that sub-Saharan Africa received $49 billion in remittances in 2021. Nigeria's substantial diaspora population contributes significantly to remittance inflows, with Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal following.
Though the CEO of WellaHealth, Neto Ikpeme, initially launched Healthsend Africa to address his family's difficulty in accessing high-quality medication and care, the company also did so to take advantage of the diaspora's potential to improve local access to healthcare.
Consequently, immigrants can buy medicine or health plans, including health insurance, for loved ones in Nigeria. However, for now, they can only obtain services related to authentic prescription medication purchases for chronic illnesses such as diabetes for their loved ones in Kenya.
The company also plans to provide immigrants’ loved ones in Kenya access to various healthcare services, including scheduling doctor appointments, health insurance products, and remotely monitoring medical conditions.
However, in Nigeria or Kenya, this isn’t a new service. For instance, Fleri is a migrant family care platform that helps people who have moved abroad find and manage healthcare access for their loved ones back home.
Immigrants in the US, Canada, and the UK can buy health insurance plans for their loved ones. Once they sign up as members, they can add as many loved ones as they are accountable for as beneficiaries in their home countries: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mali, Senegal, Algeria, Nigeria, and Ghana.
DiaspoCare is another healthtech company facilitating seamless care between Africans who have moved abroad and their families and carers back home. Like Healthsend, immigrants purchase vouchers for their relatives in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
On how it stands out in the face of competition, Healthsend says its efforts stem from a deep comprehension of the issue. Thus, it has teamed up with a few other companies and plans to keep doing so to expand the sector and assist those living abroad in taking better care of their families back home.
“Beyond this, our unique approach is using a health wallet that people can use to purchase services. Once you have funded the wallet, you can tell us how best you want to use this service and who benefits from it.”
Meanwhile, Healthsend considers its team "close friends and confidants to our customers and their families." Even though it is just getting started, the subsidiary claims to have already seen a lot of interest and adoption.
What’s more, the company intends to become pan-African soon. While concentrating on expanding its influence in Kenya and Nigeria, it also plans to enter new markets on the continent.