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Kasha’s Mugeni says healthcare services are failing to be inclusive of women of all backgrounds

As opportunities in women’s health accelerate, FemTech seeks to bridge the gap between women and healthcare services. Mugeni Natcha the Chief Health Officer at Kasha Rwanda says these innovations should first be tailored to the communities they will serve.

Kasha is an e-commerce platform that can be accessed through mobile phones, enabling easy and reliable feminine products across the country. Kasha has over 400 products on its website including, Menstrual pads, Tampons, Reusable pads, and other feminine products.

Kasha, founded in Rwanda in 2016 and expanded to Kenya in 2018, aims to become the foremost distributor of health products in Africa.

Like Kasha, many other FemTech has grown to encompass a range of technology-enabled, consumer-centric products and solutions. Still, many other innovations fail to understand the backgrounds of the women they are trying to help.

During Women Deliver 2023, Mugeni Natacha attended a session on FemTech Revolution and advancing health for all. The session tackled issues such as bias in algorithms and the need to learn from previous failures in technology.

In an interview with her, she explained that there is a need to address the critical issue of healthcare services failing to be inclusive of women from all backgrounds. She emphasizes the importance of addressing this gap and advocating for inclusive and accessible health services and products.

She said, “ When you talk about inclusivity, what do we mean? So we mean really considering all women of all ages and in different socioeconomic classes. When you talk about all women in socioeconomic classes, you’re talking about people at the bottom of the pillar. How do we ensure that they have access to information, also products that are affordable, good quality, and can access them conveniently?”

While there are numerous innovative apps and services in the market, they often fail to reach the right audience effectively. Many do not really consider the fact that many women do not even have access to this technology. Women in rural areas are still to use smartphones let alone healthcare platforms.

Mugeni says, “So we find that there are amazing apps, there are amazing innovations, but really when you look at what they’re doing, they’re not really serving the right people.”

She continued by saying, “We think that tech needs to be fancy, website, AI, we need to understand what they have that can be transformed into tech not just to see how they can transfer money but also how they can access products.”
She emphasizes the need for solutions that align with women’s needs and advocates for increased dialogue and understanding within the FemTech space.

Mugeni encourages young people, especially women, to actively engage in the FemTech revolution. She highlights the openness of the space and invites individuals to participate in discussions and contribute their insights.

The young advocate believes that by educating themselves about FemTech, young people can play an instrumental role in shaping the future of healthcare, ensuring solutions that truly meet the needs of women.

Kasha has assisted over 3000 thousand women in Rwanda and 10,000 in Kenya. The company has created job opportunities, with over 300 women currently employed as agents.

Kasha plans to expand its operations to South Africa next month, recognizing the need for enhanced services in the country, particularly in the context of HIV.

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