Kenyan e-pharmacy startup MYDAWA banks $1.2m grant funding from Gates Foundation

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Kenyan e-health startup MYDAWA has been awarded a grant of US$1.2 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at increasing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) services through its e-pharmacy model, supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS in Kenya. 

Founded in 2017, MYDAWA enables consumers to conveniently purchase authentic high-quality medicines, health and wellness products through partnerships with healthcare practitioners and suppliers. It has signed up over 80,000 registered users.

The startup’s virtual, discreet and convenient PrEP service delivery can expand the reach of PrEP, which has been limited by the stigma associated with HIV and the public nature of the current onboarding system. The US$1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help to expand access to this system.

This is in line with the Gates Foundation’s goal of accelerating the decline of HIV infection worldwide and saving lives through improved interventions to prevent new infections and simplified HIV treatment. To date, the foundation has committed more than US$3 billion in HIV grants to organisations around the world. 

“MYDAWA will adapt its current model that ensures a seamless end to end customer centred delivery solution for those seeking PrEP across the country,” said MYDAWA chief executive officer (CEO) Tony Wood. 

“Specifically, this investment will leverage on MYDAWA’s well established model to expand PrEP delivery online. Together with University of Washington, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Jhpiego and Audere, we will develop this model, assess its feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness in expanding the reach of PrEP. We will also generate necessary evidence and lessons learned to support policy change and further donor commitment towards this approach.”

MYDAWA previously raised US$3 million in funding from the Africa HealthCare Master Fund for accelerating a planned countrywide expansion.

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