Nigerian startup launches procurement platform for hospitals

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Nigerian startup Medsaf has launched a procurement platform for hospitals, pharmacies and clinics, allowing them to have medication delivered directly to their door.

Medsaf aims to make the process of buying and selling medication in Nigeria’s health system easier and more efficient, sourcing medication directly from leading manufacturers and allowing healthcare service providers to order online and have them delivered.

It also provides customers with an inventory management system that allows them to see real-time stock levels for their medication, receive order reminders and alerts, and access historical sales data for forecasting.

Medsaf has already collected pre-orders from over 50 medical facilities in Lagos, and has already directly procured over 5,500 products to date.

Co-founder Vivian Nwakah told Disrupt Africa medication procurement was one of the most complicated challenges a medical facility faces in a country like Nigeria, with up to 50 per cent of the medication sold fake or substandard.

“We spoke to over 100 medical facilities in Nigeria to access their need and understand how to tailor a solution to them,” she said. “The significant challenge for the medical industry is that the procurement process is decentralised and can be chaotic. For manufacturers looking to enter into African markets like Nigeria, there is no real transparent data on sales trends and opportunities.”

Medsaf has thus been developed as a one-stop-shop to fix these problems.

“We felt that if we could create a platform that leverages technology to make the purchasing process easier then we could reduce overall operating costs, provide cheaper medication, and ensure availability of quality and safe medication,” Nwakah said.

“We streamline the process of purchasing and delivering medication across the country. This platform allows us to anticipate demand and understand sales trends and market opportunities. We monetise this data and help pharmaceutical manufacturers expand their offering to the African market.”

The startup has been mostly self-funded so far, but is looking to raise US$250,000 to help it complete its platform education process for its first 100 facilities in Lagos and scale to other major cities across Nigeria.

“The medical procurement problem is one of the greatest public health challenges in not only Nigeria, but across Africa. Medsaf operates using a city expansion model starting with Lagos. Once we improve our efficiency and supply chain in a scalable way we will move to additional cities across Nigeria and then to other cities across Africa,” Nwakah said.

The startup makes money in two ways: firstly by taking a percentage on all products sold on the platform, and secondly through selling premium account subscriptions to its investory management product.

“Profit in this industry is all about scale, which we will achieve by aggregating medical facilities across Nigeria,” Nwakah said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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