Global consumer goods company Reckitt has teamed up with the Health Innovation and Investment Exchange (HIEx), the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Eco Bank Foundation to launch a 100% non-profit drive dubbed WiNFUND NFT Africa Collection meant to boost access to quality healthcare in Africa. The WiNFUND NFT Africa collection will comprise a group of unique digital artworks that will create a community of innovators, investors, and supporters to champion the next generation of African women tackling some of the continent’s biggest health challenges.
The fund aims to address two significant areas of inequality — that 1 in 2 people, or half the world, lack access to essential healthcare, and less than 2% of venture capital funding globally goes to women despite evidence their ventures generate stronger returns. WiNFUND is poised to unlock the potential of women entrepreneurs to address both of those gaps.
Patricia O’Hayer, Global Head of External Affairs for Reckitt and co-founder of WiNFUND said: “Women-led companies are already achieving amazing things: improving access to healthcare and saving lives. WiNFUND is an innovative model that will help entrepreneurs grow by building an engaged, global community that will provide business support and financing through the sale of unique NFTs. These entrepreneurs are addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges, and through them, we believe WiNFUND can transform access to healthcare for the people who need it most.”
WiNFUND will invest directly in women entrepreneurs who are already implementing home-grown solutions to some of the continent’s most urgent health challenges.
Applicants include Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa from Uganda, who launched Community Healthcare Innovation Lab (CHIL) to screen women in remote locations for cervical and breast cancer using artificial intelligence (AI), after being treated for breast cancer herself.
Also in Uganda, Dr Nercy Ashaba, is helping people manage the cost of healthcare through the fintech company she co-founded, Peleyta Health. Its micro-savings and lending platform helps Ugandans on low incomes afford quality healthcare.
And in Kenya, Umra Omar, founder and director of Safari Doctors, is leading her team of medics delivering primary healthcare to some of the country’s most remote regions.
Others include Ambulex Kenya founded by Judith Oketch, offering emergency healthcare solutions for low-income communities.
Nigerian e-health startup Famasi Africa co-founded by Adeola Ayoola is also among the shortlisted enterprises. Famasi is a digital health platform that helps people access their medications, get doorstep delivery, automate monthly refills, enjoy free follow-ups and connect with healthcare providers.
Nigerian healthcare entrepreneur Dorothy Jeff Nnamani, founder on Novo Health Africa is also among the top contestants. Her organization Novo Health Africa is Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) in Nigeria focused on providing sustainable health care programs including health insurance, healthcare financing, health management solutions, and community health project delivery.
Rwanda’s Blandine Umuziranenge of Kosmotive, a social enterprise that is increasing access to menstrual, maternal and child health information and products in Rwanda is also in the running. Kosmotive was founded in 2014 and produces affordable sanitary pads and a menstrual health information platform.
By investing in companies like these, WiNFUND will directly support women entrepreneurs to scale their enterprises, extending their reach and helping more people than ever access high-quality healthcare. WiNFUND’s ambition is to replicate this model on other continents in the future.
Pradeep Kakkattil, Founder and CEO of Health Innovation and Investment Exchange and co-founder of WiHFUND, said: “Three out of four healthcare workers globally are women. Women on the frontlines of healthcare are innovating and finding solutions to challenges that plague the health system. WiNFUND is about enabling equitable access to investments and accelerating women-led health enterprises — it can be transformative. It is a win-win as it impacts healthcare access and builds economic resilience.”
WiNFUND will be partly financed through the sale of WiNFUND NFTs, unique works of digital art designed by Rwandan artist Christella Bijou. The collection has been supported and made available in close collaboration with technology partner, Tokenproof. Additional funding will come from mission-aligned donors, partner organisations, and high net worth individuals, who together with WiNFUND NFT holders will create a global community of mentors and supporters committed to improving access to healthcare and women’s entrepreneurship.
WiNFUND builds on Reckitt’s Fight for Access (FFA) Accelerator, a programme to support and scale early-stage social enterprises across the world, which has improved access to healthcare for 1.5 million people in its first year alone.
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