Digital Health

Up for the Challenge: Building a New World of Care

Overview Part of the Global Tech Challenge, IFC's TechEmerge Health East Africa Challenge matches health tech innovators from around the world with leading health care providers in East Africa to conduct pilot projects and build commercial partnerships. Learn more about three of the challenge winners.

At CES® 2020, the IFC’s TechEmerge Health East Africa challenge, part of the Global Tech Challenge presented by CES and the World Bank Group, was launched with a call for applications to innovative health technology companies from around the world with solutions for addressing the needs of more than 20 healthcare providers participating across Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia who serve over 5 million patients annually at more than 250 facilities.

More than 415 tech companies from 50 countries submitted applications for review. TechEmerge is set to support pilots of 17 of these tech solutions to be field tested and validated in the local market.

From point of care diagnostics to emergency response to clinical decision support tools, innovative solutions will help address a variety of needs for the participating providers. Learn more about three of the standout winners that showcase how facilitating partnerships in new markets can have incredible development impact.


Baobab Circle

Baobab is already present in six African countries, and IFC will support the company’s expansion in Uganda to work with private sector corporations beyond traditional healthcare providers.

Baobab’s Afya Pap, a patient-centered platform, leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and behavioral science to improve management of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension by providing localized health education and remote monitoring via cell phones, and call a doctor functionality. The platform will be piloted through corporate wellness programs to promote the general health and wellbeing of 4000 employees, provide support to prevent and manage diabetes and hypertension, and reduce insurance costs related to non-communicable diseases.


Butterfly Network

Butterfly iQ, created by Butterfly Network, is the world’s first whole-body single-probe ultrasound system connected to a mobile device. iQ is portable and radiation free and provides AI-supported diagnostic imaging across 13 clinical indications that span the whole body.

Costs, complexity, and skills required to operate traditional equipment prevent 4.7 billion people around the world from having access to medical imaging. Through the Challenge, Butterfly Network is working with a primary healthcare provider in informal settlements in Kenya to deploy iQ in eight clinics to serve 1400 patients. The pilot aims to help build a financially viable and accessible solution for underserved communities.



Tricog’s Insta ECG machine provides real-time cardiac diagnosis through its cloud-connected ECG service. Tricog extracts physiological data and ECGs from clinical and personal health devices and securely uploads them to the cloud where AI algorithms analyze the data and provide a diagnosis. A team of cardiologists verifies the diagnosis which is then sent back to the remote location within six minutes.

Tricog has already scaled the business to operate in more than 12 countries, serving more than 4.6 million patients in emerging markets. Through the Challenge, Tricog will be piloting with two health systems, one in Ethiopia leveraging AI and linking cardiologists in India to Ethiopian doctors to perform rapid diagnosis and initiate treatment for heart disease, and one in Kenya to help pediatric cardiologists serve around 3500 children in remote clinics across the country.

Learn more about all the winners of IFC’s TechEmerge Health East Africa challenge and the Global Tech Challenge.

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