Women doing tremendous work in health tech are a great source of inspiration for us at One HealthTech Ibadan. Through their diligence and perseverance, millions of people benefit from quality healthcare. They make this happen with a rich array of skills and specialties. Beyond this, these women have become worthy role models for young women and men aspiring towards a career in the space. We present some of these trailblazing ladies in this series celebrating International Women’s Day 2021.
Dr Funmi Adewara has more than a decade of NHS clinical experience and a stint in the pharmaceutical industry as a drug safety physician. She is also a member of the American Telemedicine Association, ATA.
Dr Adewara has won several awards including the World Bank SDGs Global Award 2020 and the Sanofi AfricaTech Challenge, Africa Vs Virus Challenge by AfDB/EU, The Female Tech Founders Award 2020 and Zenith Global Health Awards for advancing healthcare with technology.
Her work is supported by the World Bank, Africa Development Bank, AfDB, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Government and has been featured on BBC, CNBC/Forbes, Channels TV, Channel 5 News, Africa.com, Telegraph and Financial Times-London. She was recognized as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent.
Morenike Fajemisin, CEO and Co-founder WHISPA is a registered award-winning pharmacist in Nigeria with over 7 years experience in the public health sector. She is a 2016 winner of the BMGF/Bayer 120under40 award and in 2019, won the Ingenuity Fund grant. That same year, her mobile app WHISPA was selected by World Health Organisation Africa as one of the Top 30 Innovations to look out for. She is also an associate fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
WHISPA is an app equipping and educating young people about their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) while connecting them to products and services in a confidential manner. It addresses the low rates of contraceptive use among young people. It is intelligent and able to suggest the most suitable contraceptive method using medical and sexual health history of the users and WHO eligibility guidelines.
The app ensures uptake by making use of GPS capabilities on mobile phones to refer its users to selected adolescent-friendly health providers nearby. WHISPA then links young people to other SRH products like STD test kits, STD vaccines, condoms and private consultations with a WHISPA doctor through its “Chat-With-a-Doctor’’ function. WHISPA was founded in Nigeria in 2020 and at the moment, it has now achieved over 15,000 downloads, with over 6000 young people already benefiting from accessing SRH through Ms Fajemisin’s innovative mobile app.
Dr. Ola Orekunrin-Brown is a medical doctor, healthcare entrepreneur and founder of Flying Doctors, West Africa’s first air-operated emergency service. After her studies at the Hull York Medical School, she worked in acute medicine in the United Kingdom and then went on to be awarded the Japanese MEXT scholarship. This allowed her to further her studies in Tokyo, Japan, through the fellowship focused on lab-based research with induced pluripotent stem cells. She is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Ola and her FDHIC team launched a COVID-19 mobile testing booth which maximized existing PPE supplies and reduced infection risk for healthcare workers. Dr Ola runs an early-stage venture capital firm, Greentree Investment Company which provides growth capital to some of Africa’s technology start-ups. They also operate a startup lab supporting entrepreneurs to grow sustainable businesses.
Dr Brown is an editor of the International Journal of Emergency Services and has published three books and articles in the British Medical Journal, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, the Niger Delta Medical Journal, The New York Times and The Huffington Post. Among the awards she has received are TED Global Fellow 2012, This Day Awards 2012 — Contribution to Health in Africa, World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader and Forbes 20 Young Power Women In Africa 2013.
Tito Ovia is an American-born Nigerian health technology entrepreneur and public health expert focusing on digital health and technology in Nigeria. She co-founded the startup company Helium Health in 2016 and is currently the head of growth.
In 2019, Ovia was the only female listed in the healthcare section of the Forbes 30 Under 30. Ovia graduated from Cheltenham Ladies’ College and completed a BSc in biomedical sciences from the University of Manchester. Upon completing her college studies, she worked for the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA).
Helium Health is a technology solution transforming African healthcare with electronic medical records, telemedicine and operations management. It is a user-friendly platform that has greatly improved the experience of patients, health financiers and providers. In 2018, Ovia and the other co-founders were nominated for The Future Awards Africa Prize for Technology.
Mrs Abimbola Adebakin is the Chief Executive Officer of Advantage Health Africa, an aggregator in the retail pharmacy space. She is a trained pharmacist from the University of Lagos and holds a Master’s in Business Administration. She is also a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI).
She is keen on entrepreneurship development, and has maximized this within the umbrella of the Pan-African Tony Elumelu Foundation as the Chief Operating Officer and in building Advantage Health Africa. She has also worked in and explored innovation in various sectors including insurance, healthcare, agriculture, power distribution, aviation support, public service and finance.
Mrs Adebakin is also the founder of My Medicines, an online pharmacy that provides safe and reliable medicines prescribed by verified providers to patients who need it. Using last mile technology and a user-friendly approach, it then delivers the medication to their doorstep in cities and communities across Nigeria. This has improved timely and convenient access to quality healthcare for many Nigerians.
Dr Omolola Salako is a consultant radiation oncologist, researcher and cancer advocate. She works at the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Treatment Centre in Lagos and is a lecturer at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos.
She is the Executive Director, Sebeccly Cancer Care, a not-for-profit that conducts cancer prevention programs. She is also founder of Oncopadi Digital Clinic, a tech-enabled platform that connects and empowers patients with cancer. She is the Principal Investigator of the X-Labs Digital Health Hub, a leadership development platform that engages the extraordinary potential of future healthcare leaders.
Her areas of expertise include oncology, public health, digital health education development, research, project management and career management. She won the 2020 Union for International Cancer Control CEO Award and in March 2021, emerged winner of the 5th Annual Astellas Oncology C3 Prize.
Ms Temie Giwa-Tubosun is a Nigerian-American who founded LifeBank, a company that makes access to blood for blood transfusions easier, tackles the problem of blood shortage in health facilities and educates people about the importance of blood donation.
The company was born out of the realization that she had to do something to help women in Nigeria who die as a result of excessive blood loss in childbirth. Since then, her digital blood bank has saved over 4,000 lives. By using Google maps to connect blood banks to hospitals around the country Giwa-Tubosun and her team have changed the narrative for many patients in dire need of blood.
In December 2020, she was awarded the Global Citizen Prize for Business Leaders, for her work in addressing blood shortages in Nigeria, and LifeBank’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In November 2019, Giwa was named the winner of Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize which was held in Accra, Ghana. The win for LifeBank was worth $250,000. The Prize got applications from more than 10,000 startups from 50 out of Africa’s 54 countries.
Dr Noimot Abisola Balogun is a health design thinking strategist. She stands out in her unique way of designing and executing health interventions and research using conversations, storytelling, and relationships. She was the content lead of the risk communication team of the Lagos Covid19 response from April to October 2020 where she coordinated the pandemic prevention and control information disseminated to over 20 million Lagosians. Her team developed the contents and graphics for the 1st Covid19 handbook for schools.
Dr Balogun is also a member of the Health Policy Commission of the National Economic Summit Group (NESG). Have you ever wondered why people ignore orthodox health messages, products, and services until when they do not have a choice or there is an emergency? Why is it difficult for researchers to get their research findings across to user communities? Indeed, there is a clear gap in communicating the value that leads to positive adoption.
This is where Noimot adds value as the team lead of Linka.ng where they analyse audience value chain, using conversational models and social analytics to develop innovative engagement solutions. Her startup has worked with clients such as National Orthopedic Hospital, UNICEF Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, PharmAccess among others. She was one of the 57 researchers selected as research ambassadors for the Recirculate project for Water Eco-innovation in Africa, a £6.8 million Research Council/ GCRF grant to Lancaster University with a subsequent 1 month residency in the institution.
Happy International Women’s Day ✨🎉