The United Nations (UN) estimates around 1.6 million people die annually in Africa due to the lack of access to health care services or adequate medicine. A large part of this number is primarily due to lack of access to nearby pharmacies with quality and original medicines. This situation prompted Abimbola Adebakin and her team to aggregate pharmacies under one platform to connects patients, who need medicine, with the right pharmacy and have medicine in a timely manner. Her ambition, starting with Nigeria and then Africa, is to eliminate death due to a lack of timely access to the right medicine.
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In a continent where the World Health Organization has stated that one in ten drugs are considered fake or substandard, access to quality drugs is a huge challenge. Advantage Health Africa is a start up in the Nigerian health care industry with the vision to foster the largest collaborations of health care service organizations in Africa. The company makes drugs available to patients nationwide, including those living in very remote regions, by aggregating pharmacies and drug stores on a internet platform called mymedicine.com and providing last mile delivery services within the 774 local government areas. This delivery service is possible due to a unique collaboration with the Nigerian Postal Service, a government owned parastatal that provides mail logistics services nationwide. Advantage Health’s value proposition is dual: access and affordability of medicare.
Abimbola Adebakin, the Chief Executive Officer of Advantage Health Africa, has had many accomplishments. She was nominated by the African Innovation Service (AIS) as a top innovator in Africa in 2018. This was quite an achievement, especially for a young start up company that had just started its operations in 2017. However for Abimbola it was the fact that she was able to attract a young and dynamic team of pharmacists and developers who were willing to work on their idea with little or no remuneration at the outset that was defining. Also, by getting the endorsement of oversight governmental agencies such as Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN), Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) in support of mypharmacy.com was a testament to the value the regulatory entities saw in her business.
Abimbola said “I was a bit uncomfortable with the silo mentality we had in healthcare. Healthcare is so vital for the well-being of anyone. We were working sub-optimal and the people who suffer are really the human beings around us, including us.” This discomfort propelled her in 2015 to aggregate a group of 55 pharmacies to do group purchasing of drugs. By 2017 she saw a business opportunity within the B2B market and the B2C market for leveraging on platform technology. AdvantageHealth launched mymedcine.com to make quality medicine available to a wider market and customer segments.
My medicine.com currently services up to 3,000 clients per month whilst mypharmacies.com has 45 partner franchise pharmacies, a notable feat in a country where the largest pharmaceutical retail chain has 75 stores nationwide.
Through their ever expanding network of pharmacies, Mypharmacy aims to benefit drug retail in quantity and quality. Improvement in quality will come from the feedback gathered from customers. The consolidation of data will also bring efficiency in drug delivery and lower lead times in constraint points of customer services.
Collaboration with third parties is also essential to capitalize on the strength of the network to improve the speed of the delivery of medicine. In this way, mypharmacy benefits pharmacies scattered all around the country, by linking them, within the platform, to new customers who will potentially become loyal customers.
In other cases, collaboration with the national postal delivery system also increases the traffic of drug delivery which can reduce delivery cost whilst leveraging a wider country network.
We can estimate that through their delivery data, 3,000 happy customers per month are being helped to get the right medicine in a timely manner. They are also enabling over 50 pharmacy retail networks in Nigeria alone to work together and collaborate to tackle the same issues such as fake drugs. This partnership builds customer trust by centralizing information in one platform and rating system.
Furthermore, they offer trainings to pharmacists within their franchise network in areas of customer service and financial procurement techniques. They continue to innovate through partnerships with IT companies, and educational and financial institutions. As a result, they ensure the sustainability of their business through innovation for the good of society.
Abimbola Adebakin, Chief Executive Officer
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Lagos, Lagos, NG
Business Website: AdvantageHealthAfrica.com
Year Founded: 2017
Number of Employees: 51 to 200
Advantage Health Africa delivers high quality medicine to all 774 local government areas in Nigeria. In a country ravaged by the high prevalence of adulterated drugs, the company aggregates reputable pharmacies across Nigeria so that customers are able to access authentic and affordable medicine. This helps to save lives.