MYDAWA: Disrupting the Healthcare Landscape in Kenya

Tony Wood, MD, MYDAWA

One of the most progressive technology models in the healthcare space is an e-health platform that has enabled accessibility to quality and affordable drugs at the tap of a button.

First of its kind in the market, MYDAWA is an online retail pharmacy that allows patients to purchase quality medicine and wellness products through website and mobile app.

In May 2018, the firm was granted a new license by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB), making it the first ever e-retailing pharmacy in Kenya.

“It was a huge milestone as it allowed us to operate as an online retail pharmacy providing the full suite of retail services to patients directly through our digital platforms,” said Tony Wood, the Managing Director, MYDAWA while speaking to StartUp Magazine at his office in Nairobi.

MYDAWA aims to address the long, lengthy and quite often fragmented process in the supply of pharmaceutical products. “The reality on the ground shows that at nearly every stage that a pharmaceutical product changes hand, new costs are introduced which makes the cost of essential drugs highly prohibitive,” he added.

MYDAWA features an innovative mechanism that gives consumers great value for money since products sold at the platform are at least 40 per cent below the market price for MYDAWA own branded products, whilst all other 3rd party products are sold at a 20 per cent cheaper rate.

It gratifies then that MYDAWA concept was conceived to leverage on the power of technology to provide better and affordable healthcare products for all.It also demonstrates how technology is enabling efficiencies within the supply chain which reflects in reduced medication costs to patients.

Consumers can access the platform online via or download the app on their mobile phones and register themselves. They can then browse a wide array of products, select what they need- be it wellness products or prescription drugs – and add it to their shopping cart. For prescription drugs, consumers are required to scan and upload a valid prescription onto the platform where it will be reviewed by one of our team of pharmaceutical professionals. “We will then transcribe and fulfill them from our fulfillment centre ensuring that their products are securely and conveniently delivered,” says the executive.

Once a client makes an order on the platform, delivery is done within 4 hours in Nairobi and its environs. The products are delivered with a tamper proof seal to your home, office or nearest pharmacy for prescription medicines.

“For MYDAWA own brands, we have secured all our packs at the production line with tamper-proof seals. That seal contains an authentication code that you can scratch off to reveal. You can SMS this to a short code and get a response. It not only lets you know that it is a genuine product, but that it’s exactly what you ordered,” notedthe executive.
The brand has partnered with Pharmaceutical Technologists (Pharmtechs) to deliver medicines. This is a huge step towards reducing medication non-adherence, a rising epidemic where people do not take their prescriptions as directed by the doctor. The Pharmtechs will also provide further instructions and counseling on how patients can take their prescriptions.

Why Kenya?

“Kenya is a hotbed of innovations driven by the receptive nature of most Kenyans to embrace new technologies and solutions that fit their needs. A point in case is of M-Pesa; a world leading mobile money innovation that is more relevant many years after its inception. Penetration of internet and smart phone is also high,” explained Mr. Wood.

Wider benefits

With the hindsight of the company being tech driven, Wood asserts that the efficiencies brought about by such innovations can also benefit the health insurance industry through better pricing and fraud reduction. It is estimated that huge savings of up to 46 per cent on an outpatient medicine cover can be achieved by Insurance companies through the reduced cost, fraud reduction and operational efficiencies gained from the solution.  Further, this could be replicated across the industry both for private health insurers and for Government schemes such as the NHIF (National Health Insurance Fund).

This informed the firm’s partnership with Smart Technology and insurance firms such as Sanlam Insurance among others.

MYDAWA has also partnered with iPay, an innovative payment processing solution and payment gateway for Africa.

The move is meant to scale up its service delivery in line with achieving better health outcomes through the increase of payment options for customers based in various locations. It is expected that this will increase customer retention and loyalty.

With the partnership, MYDAWA customers will pay for their prescription, health and wellness products through loyalty points, Mastercard, VISA, Bonga Points, Equitel, MPESA, Airtel money, eLipa, PesaLink and Kenswitch. The iPay Partnership also allows customers to make easy, fast and convenient online and offline payments from one account.

Going forward

“Over time we have established that some patients may want to acquire certain medications but they cannot afford it. Some medicines are also expensive, especially those that have to be taken for a longer period,”says the executive

“We are working on a financing mechanism with micro financiers to help patients acquire medicines on our platforms. This will be incorporated as a payment option in our platforms,” he adds.

Mr. Wood further emphasizes the need for healthcare operators to continue embracing disruption in the industry to become more efficient, lower costs, increase accessibility to healthcare and provide patient-centric care.

Technology, especially the internet, has added immense value where the consumer is now more informed and empowered. Technology will continue to play a greater role in healthcare and increase universal healthcare coverage. MYDAWA’s unique business model also fits into President Uhuru Kenyatta’s big four agenda and Kenya’s commitment to achieve Universal Health Care (UHC) by 2020.



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