Kenyan startup Miti Health, which provides chemists with business management and supply chain software on the Android platform, has received a US$100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to research ways of expanding the use of mobile tools among Kenyan private health providers.
The software allows users to record sales, manage inventory, generate reports, reorder medication and receive special offers through the platform. It was started by Stanford University students who had worked in the Kenyan healthcare sector.
The startup has now been named a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Miti Health team will use the US$100,000 in grant funding to pursue what it says willbe an “innovative global health and development research project” to assess ways of expanding use of mobile money tools among small, Kenyan private health providers.
Miti Health said private sector retail pharmacies serve as critical, frontline heathcare providers for millions of Kenya’s patients, especially among poor and low-income residents, with the new projects to builds on its work over the past 18 months leveraging technology, trainings and customer service to improve the quality of care and the quality of medication provided by this group.
The funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will allow Miti Health to further expand its technology platform, by integrating with M-Pesa, Kenya’s largest mobile money system. Mobile money payments made by patients will be integrated directly into Miti Health’s point of sale (PoS) and inventory management system, helping to expand the payment options available at pharmacies.
Meanwhile, the study will assess how an integrated mobile money and sales platform, along with access to financing, will affect the adoption of mobile money.
Miti Health is the second Kenyan tech startup to receive support from the Grand Challenges Exploration Grant this year, with digital currency wallet and development provider Bitsoko receiving its own US$100,000 in July.
Bitsoko is a mobile wallet that implements blockchain technology in a bid to both remove the cost of transferring money between two individuals and increase access to payment services.
The startup’s approach integrates blockchain with mobile money, allowing funds to be sent from the developed world through bitcoin and received as mobile money. It is currently in beta testing in Nairobi.