Skoll Foundation, a U.S-based platform that honors transformative leaders that drive sustainability and impact, has announced mPharma – a Ghana-based healthtech startup – as a recipient of the 2019 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.
The honor is given to a carefully selected group of social entrepreneurs, “whose innovations have already had significant, proven impact on some of the world’s most pressing problems, and invests directly in the promise of even greater impact at scale.”
According to a statement from the foundation, mPharma was awarded the honor for pioneering the vendor managed inventory model for pharmacies in Nigeria. It was selected on the backs of its undertakings to fix the broken drug supply chain in Africa, and how the healtech is making medicines affordable by channeling resources to eliminate the inefficiencies and price fluctuations that keep drugs far from the reach of the common sick in the continent.
Skoll Awards normally rewards transformative leaders who disrupt the status quo, drive large-scale sustainable change and poised to create impact. Each awardee receives USD 1.5 Mn core support investment to scale their operations and double down impact. The healtech receives this honor also because of its innovation, which creates an avenue for it to manage its own inventory, sourcing, procuring and financing such inventories at no costs to pharmacies.
“The pharmacy only pays mPharma for what they dispense to patients. Through this service, mPharma is reducing inventory stockouts and the need for pharmacies to have access to capital to purchase their inventory. Over 100 pharmacies and hospitals in Nigeria are in mPharma’s network including Lagoon Hospitals, Reddington and Lily Hospitals. Today, more than 250 pharmacies across Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia are in the network and mPharma is serving over 400,000 patients since 2017”, the statement said.
Gregory Rockson, the CEO of mPharma, who received the award said: “We are honored to see the work we started receive this acknowledgment from the Skoll Foundation. It encourages us to work harder in ensuring that no patient is denied access to high-quality medicines due to cost or stockouts.”
The award comes at a busy time for mPharma, as the firm is in talks to buy Halton’s Pharmacy, Kenya’s second largest chain of pharmacies. While the deal awaits approval, mPharma was reported to have raised a USD 9 Mn Series B funding in January. The award will be presented on April 10 at the Skoll World Forum at the University of Oxford. The four other 2019 Skoll awardees are Crisis Text, South Africa’s Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, mPedigreeand Thorn.