Nigerian at-home lab testing platform Healthtracka gets $1.5M, backed by female VCs

According to this World Health Organization (WHO) article on treating cancer, detecting symptomatic patients as early as possible gives them the best chance for successful treatment. Though the piece is a template for cancer treatment, it applies to any disease, deadly or not. Nigerian at-home lab testing platform Healthtracka gets $1.5M, backed by female VCs

Nigerian at-home lab testing platform Healthtracka gets $1.5M  backed by female VCs

Diagnostics is at the center of healthcare; without it, doctors and physicians cannot offer treatment. But in emerging markets like Africa, where infrastructure is lacking and the doctor-to-patient ratio stands at a staggering 1:5,000, regular checkups are often considered an afterthought. Healthtracka, a Lagos-based health tech seeking to change this narrative and drum home the proverb “prevention is better than cure” with its at-home lab testing platform, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson launched the company with Victor Amusan in May 2021. And the news comes five months after its participation in the Techstars Toronto accelerator program last October.

Dare-Johnson worked several years in the healthcare space before starting Healthtracka. At some point, she led marketing efforts at a diagnostic center. Yet, it wasn’t a love for her work that pushed the chief executive to tackle this problem; instead, it was a firsthand experience of the issues late or no diagnostics can cause. “As a scientist, I studied biochemistry in school and worked in the lab, so I knew how important diagnostics was. But it wasn’t until about four years ago, when my dad had passed, that I started to look closely into the space,” the founder and CEO told TechCrunch in an interview. “We live in Africa, where healthcare infrastructure is poor. So you would think that that would make people more conscious about their health, knowing nobody will save them. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.”

Though seemingly fit and healthy on the surface, Dare-Johnson said her dad had undetected Healthtracka issues relating to diabetes and hypertension for a long time. While millions of Africans are guilty of personal health miscalculations, other factors contribute to irregular checkups such as waiting times and slow doctor consultations when present in a hospital. Telemedicine usage in Africa has skyrocketed since the pandemic as it addresses some of these challenges discouraging patients from making routine checkups. However, there are gaps in what telemedicine can cover. For instance, after most doctor consultations, patients are required to visit hospitals for lab tests, which makes up to 70% of all clinical decision-making. Then there’s the issue of convenience when patients feel reluctant to visit a laboratory or hospital.

“These were some of the problems that I saw clearly and wondered how we could get healthcare to that level where you can be at home and access it seamlessly,” she said. “We thought that could be a game-changer to how healthcare delivery can be improved in Africa. Somebody needed to come into that space to think about how to solve these operational challenges, build the logistics, technology and the infrastructure to support the idea of at-home lab testing.” According to this World Health Organization (WHO) article on treating cancer, detecting symptomatic patients as early as possible gives them the best chance for successful treatment. Though the piece is a template for cancer treatment, it applies to any disease, deadly or not.

Diagnostics is at the center of healthcare; without it, doctors and physicians cannot offer treatment. But in emerging markets like Africa, where infrastructure is lacking and the doctor-to-patient ratio stands at a staggering 1:5,000, regular checkups are often considered an afterthought. Healthtracka, a Lagos-based healthtech seeking to change this narrative and drum home the proverb “prevention is better than cure” with its at-home lab testing platform, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson launched the company with Victor Amusan in May 2021. And the news comes five months after its participation in the Techstars Toronto accelerator program last October.

Dare-Johnson worked several years in the healthcare space before starting Healthtracka. At some point, she led marketing efforts at a diagnostic center. Yet, it wasn’t a love for her work that pushed the chief executive to tackle this problem; instead, it was a firsthand experience of the issues late, or no diagnostics can cause. “As a scientist, I studied biochemistry in school and worked in the lab, so I knew how important diagnostics was. But it wasn’t until about four years ago, when my dad had passed, that I started to look closely into the space,” the founder and CEO told TechCrunch in an interview. “We live in Africa, where healthcare infrastructure is poor. So you would think that that would make people more conscious about their health, knowing nobody will save them. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.”

Though seemingly fit and healthy on the surface, Dare-Johnson said her dad had undetected health issues relating to diabetes and hypertension for a long time. While millions of Africans are guilty of personal health miscalculations, other factors contribute to irregular checkups such as waiting times and slow doctor consultations when present in a hospital. Telemedicine usage in Africa has skyrocketed since the pandemic as it addresses some of these challenges discouraging patients from making routine checkups. However, there are gaps in what telemedicine can cover. For instance, after most doctor consultations, patients are required to visit hospitals for lab tests, which makes up to 70% of all clinical decision-making. Then there’s the issue of convenience when patients feel reluctant to visit a laboratory or hospital.

“These were some of the problems that I saw clearly and wondered how we could get healthcare to that level where you can be at home and access it seamlessly,” she said. “We thought that could be a game changer to how healthcare delivery can be improved in Africa. Somebody needed to come into that space to think about how to solve these operational challenges, build the logistics, technology, and the infrastructure to support the idea of at-home lab testing.”Healthtracka’s offering is a website where individuals can book their lab tests online, have their samples collected at home and get their results via email within 48 hours. The tests range from fertility and STD tests to full body count and COVID tests.

Source: This news is originally published by techcrunch