BioNTech to start building mRNA vaccine factory in Africa in mid-2022

RWANDA – German biotech company BioNTech has signed an agreement with the Rwandan government and Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal on the construction of the first mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa starting in mid-2022, to help the continent ease health inequalities compared to other world regions. BioNTech, which developed the western world’s most widely used Covid-19 vaccines with partner Pfizer, will initially build a production line with 50 million doses annual capacity, which could be also used for Covid-19 vaccines, it said in a statement However, the partners…

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Africa Investment Forum plans US$45m vaccine production plant in East Africa

EAST AFRICA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) and its partners under the Africa Investment Forum are considering the establishment of a US$45 million vaccine plant in East Africa. While the location of the World Health Organization-prequalified vaccine production plant is not yet known, the facility will be capable of routine production of three vaccines, including for COVID-19. This will be part of a US$140 million investment being considered by the forum to boost vaccines and healthcare in West and East Africa. During the virtual roundtable event held on October…

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Start-up Zoie launches digital health, wellness clinic for women

SOUTH AFRICA –  Zoie Health Technologies has launched a digital women’s health and wellness clinic, which allows users to get healthcare advice from professionals. The clinic, Zoie Health, provides virtual consultations with medical providers, group consultations and community forums, where users can interact with each other or get advice from health experts. Zoie Health founders Thato Schermer and Dr. Nonhlanhla Sitole say the platform was inspired by personal experiences and noticing the growing need for digital healthcare that is targeted at women. “We realized that although there is a lot of…

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South Africa to host COVID-19 vaccine technology transfer hub for the continent

AFRICA – The World Health Organization (WHO) has picked South Africa to host the continent’s first messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology transfer hub for COVID-19 vaccines. The move comes after the WHO issued an expression of interest in April, to establish COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hubs to scale up production and access to COVID vaccines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The WHO describes the transfer hubs as training facilities, where the technology is established at industrial scale and clinical development performed. Interested manufacturers from LMICs can receive training and any necessary licences to the…

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IFC, Co-op Bank and Philips in US$281m deal to support SMEs in health sector in Africa

KENYA – The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of World Bank Group, has announced partnerships with health technology firm Philips and the Co-operative Bank of Kenya to help small businesses in the health sector purchase essential medical equipment and strengthen their response to Covid-19 and other pressing healthcare challenges. The deal is designed to provide risk-sharing facilities to help small businesses access up to US$281 million in loans and leases. The partnership with is aimed at supporting healthcare providers in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. The…

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South Africa’s pharma regulator approves Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine

SOUTH AFRICA – The South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) has granted a conditional approval for the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, a significant step in Africa’s quest to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the Continent. The approval comes just days after the announcement by the American pharmaceutical giant that it is set to provide up to 400 million doses of its highly effective vaccine to African countries that have continued to voice their concerns over ‘vaccine nationalism’ – or the near monopoly by more resourceful countries such…

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Health payment provider CarePay lends US$18.2m to private healthcare providers in Kenya

KENYA – CarePay,  a platform that supports private and public health plans with smart mobile health wallets to provide access to good healthcare has lent out US$18.24 million to private healthcare facilities last year, largely to fund acquisition of essential equipment and expansion. The loan facility, under CarePay’s medical credit fund (MCF), saw disbursements go up from about US$456204 per month by the third quarter in 2020 to more than US$3.65 million a month in the fourth quarter. “We used our data on medical care expenses made via our platform, M-tiba,…

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E-health startup hearX Group raises US$8.3m Series A funding round, eyes US market

SOUTH AFRICA – E-health startup hearX Group, which is striving to increase access to hearing  healthcare through smart digital solutions, has completed a US$8.3 million Series A fundraise as it targets to reach the United States (US). Founded out of the University of Pretoria, hearX Group started trading in 2016 with the purpose of commercialising digital technologies to change the face of hearing care. Initially, it focused on clinical digital audiometers, later branching out into lead generation tools for audiologists and retailers.  Its latest offering includes an end-to-end hearing care solution that…

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Private equity firm Eos Capital to buy stake in Erongo Medical Group

NAMIBIA – Private equity firm Eos Capital has announced it is in talks to acquire a minority stake in Erongo Medical Group (Pty) Ltd, the owners of the Welwitschia Hospital at Walvis Bay in Namibia. The transaction will cost several millions, and the deal is expected to be closed next week. The Namibian reported that the price and shareholding are yet to be made public. Erongo Medical Group (EMG) does not only run the Welwitschia Hospital, but also has Erongo Radiology, Ongwediva Medipark, and Medixx Occupational Health Services under its wings.…

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Pfizer picks Patrick van der Loo to head Africa and the Middle East region

AFRICA – American multinational pharmaceutical corporation, Pfizer has announced the appointment of Patrick van der Loo as Regional President for Africa and the Middle East (AfME) region. Patrick’s experience at Pfizer spans more than 20 years in leadership roles with multiple successes across geographies. In his new role as Regional President for AfME, Patrick will lead commercial operations to bring scientific breakthroughs in vaccines, oncology, rare diseases, internal medicine, hospitals, and inflammation & immunology, to serve patients.  “This year has made me even more grateful and proud to be part…

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