Six promising African health startups selected for Innovate for Life 2018

Amref Health Africa proudly presents its “Innovative Six 2018”: The six African startups that have been selected to join the Innovate for Life Fund Accelerator programme this year. The startups have been selected out of over 300 applications coming from all over Sub-Saharan Africa.

The selected ventures are

Baby Grubz Nigeria Nigeria

Baby Grubz is a social enterprise which empowers women financially through the distribution and sales of our unique baby food products which are targeted against malnutrition in the African child and they are 100% natural, African inspired, low cost and nutrient dense. We have a huge potential. Baby Grubz has grown from an initial investment of $10 to $25,000 within 3 years as well has scaled from Nigeria into 3 other West African countries.

Baobab Circle Kenya

Baobab Circle is an African grown health technology company creating health solution for the Africa. We use AI and behavioural science to provide personalized management of NCDs through remote monitoring and health education. Recently we’ve expanded to include COVID-19. In addition, we have developed a triage tool to track symptoms. Finally, and potentially of greatest importance, we have expanded the capability of our Ask a Dr SMS messaging service to include voice and video calls. Allowing patients and physicians to perform consultations while respecting nationwide stay at home orders.


JOELEX makes water, sanitation accessible and affordable for the urban poor in Kampala, Uganda by building and operating toilets, showers and then safely disposing off the waste collected by turning it into cleaner-burning charcoal briquettes used as cooking energy within slums and markets.


Ujuzi Fursa Africa – “ Skills for Opportunities “ is a social enterprise set up to align with three of the global sustainable development goals (sdg) to transform our world.

1 – Quality Education for All

2 – Good Health and Well Being

3 – Decent Work and Economic Growth


WASTiNNOVA, incorporated in December, 2017, is a business-to-business service provider. It is an innovative company targeting to decrease healthcare waste disposed and increase recycling through an environmentally sustainable methods. We focus on regulated and compliant solutions for healthcare institutions. This waste includes among other, all the waste generated within health-care facilities, research centers and laboratories related to medical procedures. Our tagline is, “Experience Better World”.

Unregulated management of healthcare waste poses greater risk to community and healthcare workers. WASTiNNOVA provide its clients with solutions to prevent workplaces associated problems and public health threats through our services. We provide solutions including collection and processing of regulated healthcare waste for disposal and the collection of personal and confidential information for secure destruction, as well as a range of training, retail and consultations. We also strives to reduce environmental impact through reduced air pollution from incineration, land and water pollution through increased recycling and increased awareness and training. We have collaborated with commercial and industrial partners to recover valuable resources and create renewable energy thus making services affordable and more sustainable. 
Our customers are primarily healthcare centers, such as hospitals, physicians, laboratories and outpatient clinics. We have also extended our service

All of the start up ventures are developing an innovative solution to improve health care in Africa and with their African-driven leadership.

This year’s innovative solutions are highly diverse and include: a “Crib A ‘glow” Phototherapy Unit, a device used for the treatment of neonatal jaundice in newborn babies; a diabetes and hypertension self-management app; a digital hospital waste management system; a health workforce development centre; and, highly nutritious baby food from local produce.

Five-month accelerator programme

The Innovative Six 2018 vetting process was conducted by a health panel and a selection committee, consisting of African health care stakeholders and key investors in African ventures. Through Innovate for Life’s five-month accelerator programme, specifically designed for the African health context, the six entrepreneurs will be embedded in the Amref Health Africa organisation.

Dr Charles Akhimien, a founder of Nigerian-based MOBicure, was among the first six entrepreneurs to take part in the Innovate for Life Fund programme when it launched in 2017.

“The Innovate for Life Fund is unique because it is the only programme specific for African startups in the health sector and it offers unrivalled knowledge of the health ecosystem and business coaching to help health startups achieve scale faster.” Dr. Charles Akhimien, MOBicure

Through his experience in the Innovate for Life Fund programme, Charles has been able to increase the number of users on MOBicure’s OMOMi (maternal and child health) app to 40,000 and onboard its first set of paying customers on OMOMi’s Chat with a doctor service.

Second year

Now in its second year, the Innovate for Life Fund aims to support African entrepreneurs to accelerate home-grown health solutions for the African market. Amref Health Africa believes that African-based, local innovations, with the realities of each country and each community embedded at their core, are vital for lasting health solutions.

“Local entrepreneurs know all ins and outs of the market and therefore their solutions are often very appropriate and sustainable. Local solutions for local challenges is in the DNA of Amref Health Africa, which makes the Innovate for Life Fund programme such a good fit. For over 60 years we have partnered with communities and governments to improve health in Africa. This experience is invaluable for entrepreneurs.” Dr.Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa.

The Innovate for Life Fund is supported by the Elsevier Foundation. “The Innovate for Life Fund has proven how critical an African health tech accelerator is, bridging a very real gap between brilliant ideas and investors in Africa.” said Ylann Schemm, Director of the Elsevier Foundation. “The 2018 cohort of entrepreneurs will further stimulate tech-driven health solutions for and by Africans.”