Senegalese start-up, JokkoSante, is scaling up its mobile app that helps customers save money and reduce waste through a “virtual pharmacy”, though a partnership with a hospital and four pharmacies in and around their country’s capital Dakar.

The app, which allows users to exchange leftover medication for new prescriptions, is scaling up following a two-year pilot phase in Passy, Senegal with the aim to reach 300,000 families in the West African nation by the end of the year.

JokkoSante is a play on the French word for health and a word that means “give and receive” in Senegal’s most widely spoken language Wolof.

The app allows users to trade-in unused, packaged medicine for points which may go toward the purchase of new medicine when they need it. All of the exchanges are done at health centres or pharmacies by licensed professionals.

“Everyone has a box of unused medicine in their cabinet. The idea is to create a medicine box for the whole community. Most health programmes are focused on providing care, but there hasn’t been any ambitious project yet to address the accessibility of medicine,” said Founder of JokkoSante, Adama Kane.

This system is backed up by a Web/mobile application that allows all transactions to be carried out safely with the end-to-end involvement of healthcare professionals and in compliance with the protocols and procedures in force.

Members can register for free on the website or can be registered by local managers for a personal account linked to their mobile phone number.

This account is credited whenever the member deposits medication and is debited each time the member withdraws medication upon presentation of a prescription.

According to Kane, since its launch JokkoSante has gained 1,200 members and 3.5 million CFA francs ($5,600) worth of medicine has been exchanged.

Kane says that through research, his team found that 75% of the Senegalese families’ health spending went on medicine. So the app allows users to send points to family members and friends, while donors can buy points for people in need.

“The project has also been driven by partners such as French telecoms giant Orange, who gain visibility in the process. Companies can target a certain demographic, such as women in their 30s, and if a matching user doesn’t have enough points to pay for a prescription she will receive a text saying which company donated to complete her purchase,” said Kane.

JokkoSante plans to expand internationally, reaching six African countries by the end of the year and 15 by 2020.

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