One of the leading digital payments companies in Nigeria, Interswitch Limited, has acquired a 60 percent stake in eClat, a local health technology firm that aims to improve healthcare delivery in Africa, through the purchase of shares from current shareholders and subscription to new shares issued by the company.
A statement from Interswitch disclosed that the deal was completed on September 30, 2019, and the company hopes to deepen its presence in the health-tech space with the acquisition.
eClat Healthcare Limited, established in 2012, specializes in assisting healthcare service providers in planning, designing and operating their unique practices through the deployment of its bespoke healthcare technology platform, designed specifically for the healthcare environment in Africa.
The platform consists of a core e-Clinic software (including electronic billing, immunization, ante-natal and care pathway functions), as well as a variety of additional specialist modules. Prior to the acquisition, eClat’s platform had become a leading Electronic Health Record (EHR) platform used in over 250 public and private healthcare facilities in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s healthcare system currently lacks adequate funding and a national framework, leading to operational inefficiencies. Interswitch’s strategic investment in healthcare technology aims to address these challenges by modernising the healthcare sector in Nigeria and eventually in Africa through its innovative products and services.
It is hoped that the combined product offerings of Interswitch and eClat will, amongst other things, enable operators in the healthcare sector develop new capabilities, improve the efficiency of their core operations and facilitate seamless payments.
Due to the growing adoption of Interswitch’s healthcare product offerings by the operators, Interswitch’s healthcare technology platform aims to be one of the top industry platforms in Nigeria, which can be utilised as a major data source by healthcare policy makers for planning and efficiency improvements in the sector.
As a result of this acquisition, the combined healthcare technology solutions are expected to position the Interswitch group as a health-tech solution and payments provider of choice to the healthcare industry going forward.
Commenting on the transaction, Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, said, “We are a technology company that is innovating to deliver value across sectors that are critical to Africa’s social and economic development, our acquisition of eClat demonstrates strong progress along this strategy and alignment with our corporate vision.”
He said further that, “Healthcare is rapidly evolving towards new, integrated and scalable models of care delivery that put the consumer at the centre.
“At the core of Interswitch’s expansion into healthcare is our ambition to provide customers with greater access to healthcare across different interaction points beyond hospitals, such as at pharmacies and primary health care facilities, providing much needed services to patients across Nigeria and, in the future, in Africa.
“It also represents an opportunity to introduce a number of Interswitch’s products, such as our Verve Health cards, as well as our payment collection & disbursement solutions (Quickteller for business), that will drive much needed efficiency in payments for health services across the value chain”.
Also, remarking on the acquisition, Dr Wallace Ogufere, co-founder/CEO of eClat Healthcare Limited stated that, “The growing adoption of value-based care, combined with the increasing level of usage of patient portals across the industry, has made it critical to take a new approach to patient engagement solution design in Nigeria.
“We expect to tightly integrate the eClat capabilities into the Interswitch platform, adding functionality that would enable providers to reach their entire patient populations by leveraging existing patient contact information”.
This new acquisition by Interswitch represents the latest of several strategic investments executed by the company to enhance Interswitch’s product and service offering and expand its reach into new markets as the payments technology sector in Africa expands rapidly.
In 2016, Interswitch acquired the mobile financial services player, VANSO. Interswitch had earlier closed the acquisition of Paynet Group in February 2015 in a deal that resulted in the creation of a combined network of over 100 financial institutions, deepening Interswitch’s footprint in East Africa.
Interswitch intends to continue with its expansion strategy whilst refining its offering, creating innovative payments solutions that are tailored to the demands of the African market.
The acquisition of eClat Healthcare Limited is expected to further enhance Interswitch’s capability to provide comprehensive solutions that involve making payments a seamless part of everyday life across critical social sectors in Africa.
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