App enables affordable access to medicines


JokkoSanté, a mobile technology firm in Senegal, founded in 2015.

The Challenge:

According to JokkoSanté, nearly half of Senegalese people do not have health insurance, and in rural areas, that number is closer to 95 percent. Even when individuals do have coverage, not all policies cover prescription medicines. With medicines often being the greatest percentage of a family’s health care expenditure in Senegal, a lack of sufficient coverage and financing impedes access to affordable medicines. At the same time, not all medicines purchased are fully used and often remain in the home until their expiration.

The Opportunity:

Adama Kane, a software engineer and founder of JokkoSanté, saw a significant opportunity to stop prescription medicine waste while increasing access to medicines. He created an app that allows users to trade in dispensed, unused medications to licensed pharmacies in exchange for points that can be used to purchase future medications. Corporations, other organizations and even family members can purchase points on behalf of those in need.


Founder interview with English subtitles:

Founder interview with English subtitles:

How It Works:

The app is free for members in need of medication and accessible via the internet or SMS—an important offering, given more than 40 percent of Senegalese lack internet access according to Internet World Stats. Once users acquire points, they can request medicines; claims are subsequently filtered through social workers to be evaluated and filled.

To grow JokkoSanté’s impact, the company has partnered with others like Bel Group, a French snack company. Leveraging JokkoSanté’s digital platform and Bel Group’s network of street vendors, the companies have worked together to grow their individual businesses. Specifically, Bel Group offered its vendors JokkoSanté points as incentives, improving the company’s performance while enabling more Senegalese access to affordable medicines.

Thanks to the innovation of Kane and his team, more Senegalese people are connected with crucial medications that they would otherwise struggle to find and afford – reducing waste and the use of potential counterfeit medicines. As of December 2019, JokkoSanté claims 42,000 lives have been changed with a current tally of 4,200 users. And with a supportive innovation ecosystem, underpinned by strong intellectual property rights that protect and reward inventors, JokkoSanté is poised to continue innovating and making an even bigger impact in the future.

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