Healthcare remains a basic need for humans, but sadly in Nigeria, the sector is grappling with lots of challenges which puts Nigerians at disadvantage. From poor facilities, to low funding, and low acceptance of social welfare schemes, many Nigerians still do not access quality healthcare at an affordable rate. Some try to resolve their health challenges by simply walking into a pharmacy or drugstore to request medication, and trust the pharmacist’s prescription regardless of his knowledge of their health history. Sometimes, these dealers have little or no formal education in anything health-related.
Picture this. Miss C bagged a first degree in Sociology, but after two years of fruitless job-hunting, she joined a local drugstore for some sort of apprenticeship. After about nine months, she sets up her own drugstore and is ready to start dishing out free ‘medical advice and prescriptions’. The big question is; “just how much has she learnt in nine months that qualifies her to take on this role?” Nigerian Pharma’s market value is projected to reach about $4 billion by 2026, from $1.6million in 2016, with 55% of this market coming from prescription drugs offered by such dealers.
Thankfully, the world is going digital and to bring quality healthcare within access to every Nigerian, OneHealth is taking its pharmaceutical services online to provide a holistic approach to pharmacare. Founder and CEO of OneHealth, Adeola Alli was a guest on the Nairametrics Business Half Hour hosted on Classic FM where she explained the range of services OneHealth gives.
“OneHealth is an online pharmacy and healthcare platform providing access to quality medicines and healthcare solutions. We are building a trusted digital health infrastructure where the average Nigerian can get access to vetted and verified medicines and healthcare solutions,” Alli said.
OneHealth started off with a B2C model as an online pharmacy where people could order medications from their homes. However, the model is being tweaked to allow people manage conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma; and to be able to request other health-related services. From the dashboard and portals, users can now request for services such as lab tests and consultations.
To convey the mission of OneHealth, one has to be able to access testing, reliable medications with proper information on drug interactions and the likes, and proper monitoring afterwards. As a trained Pharmacist, Alli is working together with the OneHealth team to make all of these available to users. She recalled that the idea for OneHealth came when she relocated with her family to Nigeria and could not find specific medications for her children.
“It started with my inability to get some medications for my kids and then I had to order it and have it shipped to Nigeria. Then I realized that for people who have these conditions long-term, it could be a huge challenge if one could not access his medications when he needed it,” Alli said.
It was along these lines that OneHealth started out as a pharmacy before scaling up and going digital to reach more people. The platform already has about 61,000 users who access the services, plus other educational materials. They are also referred to Medical doctors as the need arises, and they can order the needed medications.
“There is more to it. It is not just an online store where you click and buy, there are consultations. The market is changing and we are still trying to find the perfect product market fit. We are looking at having prescription reminders, detector of drug interaction, wellness information etc,” she explained.
OneHealth offers these services on subscription basis, and with this, medications can be prescribed for users based on pre-existing medical conditions and delivered to their doorstep. The more interesting part if the health analytics dashboard that allows users to monitor their health status and progress, and also engage with health professionals.
Though the business has been bootstrapped for some time, OneHealth has also recently raised a significant amount of pre-seed funds to keep operations running and get off the ground.
The target market includes the average Nigerian that is always on their smartphone searching out some form of health information or the other, or seeking to purchase medications and trying to find out side effects, interactions etc. The system takes their information, prescriptions and check for possible interactions as well. Over time, these processes will become automated to improve access to health care for the public.
OneHealth is also considering partnerships with existing Health Maintenance Organisations, where its services can be packaged into some form of bundles for users, especially those managing some form of chronic diseases. There is also the possibility of partnerships with SMEs to help develop simple ways to integrate healthcare management for their employees.