Wala Digital Health
We are in Ghana
Story of Wala Digital Health
All physicians face the prospect of watching their patients die, and it’s one of the most challenging aspects of our work. What makes it especially challenging to be a physician in developing countries, is to watch your patient die from truly preventable deaths.
As a doctor working in rural Ghana, Dennis was confronted with the challenge of getting blood products for his patients for critical lifesaving transfusions. Sometimes he succeeded and other times not. When Dennis lost patients because of the lack of blood, he knew he had to do something to change the narrative. Together with friends in Ghana who shared the same vision, the Wala journey began. As with most startup ideas, there were a few starts and stop bumps along the way. It was during graduate school at Harvard that Wala was given a new lease of life. Dennis was selected as a Harvard Innovation & Social Change Fellow in 2019 to work full time on Wala. Together with classmates at Harvard and MIT, we worked to bring this dream to life. We are leveraging technology to drive social change and prevent such deaths.
Wala means “give life” in the local Ghanaian language.
The change we want to see in the world and why the world needs this change
We see a world where no one has to die because there is no blood! When a woman dies from post-delivery bleeding because of the lack of blood, especially in Africa, it represents a devastating blow to the community. In most developing countries, women are the backbone and foundation of society. Young women of productive age dying as a result of the lack of blood is a huge loss to their family and community at large. The world needs a functioning healthcare system where blood resources are made speedily available for critical transfusions.
Meet Wala Team
Founder & CEO
Dennis recently graduated from Harvard University, where he was Edward S. Mason & Adrian Cheng Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. As a physician, entrepreneur, and innovator, Dennis passionate about improving the global healthcare landscape, with a focus on developing countries. Dennis is the founder and CEO of Claron Health International, an innovative medical and wellness company. Dennis spent over 10 years' in the military as a physician and served with various United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in war-torn countries, including Lebanon, Côte d'Ivoire, and Liberia.
Co-Founder & CFO
Aditi is an MBA 2020 graduate and the Dean's Fellowship Student at MIT Sloan. Aditi has persuasive and empathetic communication skills in cross-cultural environments. Skilled in data synthesis, Aditi started and launched a technology startup building connected devices leveraging IoT technology.
Kanyinsola A Oyeyinka
Kanyinsola is a Master of Public Health (Health Management) graduate from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to her time at Harvard, she led the healthcare investments team at the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) in developing, investing in and operating healthcare infrastructure projects in Nigeria that deliver sustainable risk-adjusted returns and positive social impact—including a modern oncology center and diagnostic centers. She has clinical experience as a physician in the U.K. National Health Service and also worked as an investment banker with Deutsche Bank, London. She studied medicine at Oxford University and Imperial College, London.
Technology & Innovation Lead
Prince is an ICT professional with over a decade's experience in technical delivery, as well as service operations and governance in the Healthcare Sector. Among others, he has supported the delivery of such programs and projects as NHS. U.K. (the main NHS web portal with over 50 million monthly visitors), G.P. Extraction Service (GPES), NHS Data Landing Portal (DLP), The Department of Health Airwave Ambulance Radio Programme. He is a postgraduate with degrees in Enterprise Systems from Cranfield University, Information Systems from Brunel University and an ongoing course in I.T. & Telecoms Law at University of Strathclyde.
Athena is a Product Manager at Microsoft and Research Assistant at Harvard Business School. She studied in China and Switzerland in international business schools before transferring to Brandeis University and graduated with a Computer Science degree. She is very active in communities, social impacts fields, and hackathons.
Anatole S. Menon-Johansson
Anatole is an MBA graduate and a Legatum Fellow at MIT Sloan School Management. Anatole graduated from with a Master's in Public Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2011 and is a lead attending physician in the Sexual & Reproductive Health service at Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London, clinical director of the young person charity Brook (www.brook.org.uk) and founder & director of the social enterprise SXT(www.sxt.org.uk).
Ted is a serial entrepreneur, advisor, and early-stage investor and active in the technology startup community. Ted has served as a judge, mentor, and coach for the startups emerging from MIT100k, MIT Portugal, and Harvard Business School Field-X/Y entrepreneurship programs. He advises and serves on the boards of U.S. and International companies in mobile, embedded systems, enterprise, and analytics technology companies. He inspired by elegant technology, real-time insight, and self-sustaining business that scale good social impact. Ted Selig is COO and Director at FishEye Software, Inc., providing leadership in business development, operations, and product strategy. Ted holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and a Master's of Science in Computer Systems from Northeastern University in Boston. He holds two U.S. patents and has authored or co-authored over 15 publications in the fields of railways and defense systems.
Erez Yoeli, Ph.D.
Erez is a research scientist at MIT's Sloan School of Management, where he directs the Applied Cooperation Team. His research focuses on altruism: understanding how it works and how to promote it. He collaborates with governments, nonprofits, and companies to apply these insights to address real-world challenges like increasing energy conservation, improving antibiotic adherence, reducing smoking in public places, and promoting philanthropy. Erez teaches the undergraduate Game Theory course at Harvard and regularly publishes theoretical and applied academic research articles. Erez received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Before founding the Applied Cooperation Team, Erez was an economist at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Erez graduated with Honors in A.B., Economics at Stanford University.
Fred Memelstein, MD Ph.D
Fred is the founder of several biotechnology companies and has had substantial management experience with numerous biotech startups. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pear Tree Women's Health Care, Vice-Chair of Linus Oncology, and Member of the Mass Medical Angels Group. Since 2004, Dr. Mermelstein is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Microbiology, and Immunology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Fred received a Ph.D. joint degree in pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (UMDNJ-RWJ). He completed his post-doctoral training as a research fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute located at UMDNJ-RWJ. Fred is the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston and founder and Partner of Ascentia Asset Management, Inc. and former CEO/President of Javelin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Raj Panjabi, MD MPH
Dr. Raj Panjabi is the CEO of Last Mile Health and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham & Women's Hospital. Raj grew up in Liberia but was forced to flee with his family when he was nine years old due to civil war. After returning to Liberia as a medical student, Raj co-founded Last Mile Health in 2007. He received a Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.