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Innovations and Current Trends in Digitising Distribution of Health Products in Nigeria

Nigeria Health Watch

Digital technology has become an integral part of daily life, and healthcare delivery can be improved by taking full advantage of the interconnectedness that technology affords.

To examine ways digital health is leveraged to improve access to medicines in Nigeria, Salient Advisory in partnership with Nigeria Health Watch organised a webinar titled, ‘Innovations in Digitising Health Products Distribution: Exploring the landscape and opportunities in Nigeria.’

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the important role of innovation in health systems, said Vivianne Ihekweazu, Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch, in her welcome remarks. This, she added, underlined the critical need to digitise and bring efficiency to the pharmaceutical industry, as well as improve supply-chain and last-mile distribution.

Nigeria Health Watch

Discussions at the webinar explored Salient Advisory’s 2022 report titled, ‘Innovations in Digitizing Distribution of Health Products: Current Trends In Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya & Uganda’ This market intelligence report is part of a longitudinal study carried out in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda.

An overview of some key findings and recommendations of the report are presented in this article.

Growth Trends

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Funding Trends

Nigeria Health Watch
Nigeria Health Watch


The African tech and digital health ecosystem are maturing, which provides the opportunity for focused action to support innovators who are well-positioned to scale their operations and impact. This can be done in the following ways:

  1. Partnerships with innovators demonstrating transformative potential is key. The time is now to connect the top innovators to customers in donor-funded agencies, governments, and industry. This will help them establish pilots to distribute subsidised medicines and other critical health products, explore their potential to reduce pricing, ensure affordability, and improve visibility.
  2. Major purchasers like governments, donors, and donor funded agencies should articulate critical distribution needs and create mechanisms to purchase innovations that fit their specifications.
  3. Establish a multi-country regulatory working group and provide demand-driven technical assistance in support of countries’ fast-moving efforts to define and implement regulations for digitised distribution and related services such as telemedicine.
  4. Support leading governments to test the aggregation of global, regional, and local supply chain data to develop pharmaceutical data platforms, including data from digitised distributors operating in the private sector, to inform public health supply chain planning and broader visibility.
  5. Test if and how early-stage digital payment innovations can facilitate the engagement of pharmacies in the delivery of primary care.

While regulation, which will help guide the digital pharmaceutical ecosystem and its growth trajectories, is still taking shape, efforts are still required to make sure that it remains innovation friendly, both in the short and long term.

It is hoped that this report will galvanise global health actors to prioritise focused action to support innovators who are well positioned, to help scale operations and further drive impact.

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