By Charndré Emma Kippie
Rising digital innovation in female health care is addressing women’s health issues exclusively.
‘Gender’, a burning topic of discussion, has become more and more widely unpacked in debates regarding health issues and resources. With this, ‘FemTech’ has increased in popularity as it possesses the power to aid women’s health, globally.
The FemTech sector
Female Technology (FemTech) refers to end-to-end technical solutions that cater, specifically, to female health needs. This division of technological advancement comprises diagnostic tools, software, mobile apps and wearables. Recently, funding has rapidly increased in this sector, and will continue to do so as the world witnesses a rise in the need for female-centric digital products. The FemTech sector has significant potential to eliminate many barriers which contribute to health disparities in contemporary society.
The industry is often referred to as a ‘niche market’. However, considering the fact that it’s target market – girls and women – make up more than 50% of the global population, that description simply does not do it much justice.
What The Tech?
FemTech can be defined as all those products, software and services that use technology to focus on women’s health. This includes period-tracking apps, fertility solutions, pregnancy and nursing care, reproductive system health, contraception as well as general healthcare and wellness.
Women’s Health is Evolving
Within South Africa, the Femtech industry is still in its infancy stages, with just a handful of companies lifting off the ground. Experts deduce that this slow start is most likely due to the existing stigma towards women’s reproductive health and contraceptives and underfunding of startups in the country. However, we have seen some exciting, innovative FemTech launches across the country, which has garnered interest from venture capitalists.
PayPal co-founder, Max Levchin, launched the Glow App in 2013 – a quantification app for iOS that’s aimed at helping women conceive. The app works as a fertility and health tracker, observing a woman’s menstrual cycle and monitoring cervical mucus levels for indicators. It also notifies women of peak fertility periods. This launch propelled FemTech in SA, bringing new FemTech startups to life.
Pabi Moloi, a South African software developer, launched the app called ‘Uteroo’ in 2018. The app is geared towards enabling women to track their menstrual cycle. Uteroo aims to eliminate the embarrassment women experience when not aware that it’s that time of the month. With four key features, users of Uteroo are able to keep track of their period, predict their period for the next three months, know their cycle history, and predict their approximate ovulation day and symptoms.
Solving Women’s Health Dilemmas
FemTech provides women with access to more information and a variety of tools and services such as:
- Fertility solutions
- Menstrual care
- Nursing solutions
- Pregnancy solutions
- Sexual health education
Global Market Insights Inc. on the FemTech Market
To date, the Femtech Market was valued at more than $22.5 billion for 2020. It has been estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.2% between 2021 and 2027.
- Service development technologies are seeing rapid advancement as its potential in basic research and clinical applications see accelerated growth.
- At present, the market is seeing a surprising emergence of femtech services that are being made available via numerous mobile applications.
- With success in disease diagnosis and treatment, the sector will see outstanding financial growth during the 2021-2021 period.
- Top Growth Drivers: Utilisation of digital technology for management of women’s health in developed countries, the growing awareness of women’s health and wellness, the need for enhancing access to women care in remote areas, and new investment in femtech industry
- Major pitfalls the market faces: the need for more awareness about femtech products, resources, funding and applications in some developing regions.
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