Healthcare in Africa has come a long way. Thanks to the innovations by various health tech startups on the content. In 2012, the Word Health Organization reported that the major cause of death for children under the age of 5 was the lack of access to medicine. It also highlighted that less than 50% of Africa’s population have access to healthcare.
However, the rise of healthtech startups in electronic diagnosis, records, telemedicine, IoT health care, etc., is changing the narrative for Africa’s healthcare system. We’ve got the likes of MDaas Global, Helium Health, Vazeeta, Field Intelligence, among others bringing Africa up to speed with global health standards.
Field Intelligence, with its latest milestone in digitising the supply chain and transforming access to essential, life-saving medicine, has today announced its expansion into Rivers, Edo, Kaduna, Kano, Enugu, Delta and Kwara States in Nigeria, and Eldoret, Mombasa, Kisumu and Naivasha in Kenya.
Independent and franchise pharmacies can access 1000 unique products, inventory planning, subscription delivery and Pay-As-You-Sell on the Shelf Life platform. The expansion will build on Field Intelligence’s existing 700+ pharmacy membership, which has served over 1.4 million patients to accelerate quality frontline healthcare across Africa.
The expansion comes after a year of rapid growth in sales and Shelf Life membership subscriptions, with Nigeria increasing by 47% and 65% in Kenya, selling over 586,950 products in 63 different product categories. This included anticipated demand for anti-malaria and contraceptive products which sold over 87,000 products in these categories.
However, there was an unexpected inclination of sales in both countries for supplements (45,618 units), cough and cold medicines and PPEs as communities and health workers grew increasingly more conscious of COVID-19 symptoms and preventative measures. By using data to optimise predictions and identify irregularities in the market, Field Intelligence has been able to meet the demands for prescription and over the counter drugs in multiple markets despite recent critical global shortages.
The digital-first, asset-light approach has enabled the start-up to build out its Pan-African solution and take the lead as the digital healthcare market gains momentum in Africa. As well as definitive signs for scale and impact in pharmaceutical distribution and management, Nigeria has 4,500 registered pharmacies and over 15,000 drugstores, whilst Kenya has 6,000 registered pharmacies and chemists.
In 2022 Field Intelligence aims to surpass 2,000 pharmacies and drugstores using Shelf Life and by 2025 the company is targeted to have 12,000 pharmacies in its network, 4x that of Chinese pharmacy chain GouDam – making it the largest globally.
In its current operating markets, digital health in Nigeria is set to reach a revenue volume of over US$1.3bn by 2025, with a 22.31% annual growth rate. Similarly, Kenya is also due to see a positive trajectory, with a 19.97% annual growth rate, resulting in a market volume of US$649.73m by 2025.
Speaking on the company’s expansion Michael Moreland, CEO of Field Intelligence, said “Shelf Life’s rapid uptake across such a range of African markets is a testament to its potential as a solution for pharmacies across the continent. Rural and urban, East and West, we have found Shelf Life helping pharmacies overcome a shared set of challenges and seize new opportunities for growth by improving access for their patients.
The ability of our technology to digitize, automate, and optimize planning, assortment, and fulfilment, led by an incredible team, is quickly making Shelf Life one of the largest retail pharmacy supply chains in Africa.”
Field launched Shelf Life in 2017 to solve the inventory problem cutting across Africa’s $75B retail pharmacy market. Its technology is radically simple for easy adoption in complex environments and effectively scalable, without the barriers of borders and languages. Additionally, it provides unprecedented visibility and control of pharmaceutical procurement and inventory management to eliminate frequent over and understocking, which results in expiry losses of over 10% a year and 30% stockout rates, driving pharmacies to reduce the variety of products they offer and increase their prices.
Shelf Life takes the burden and risk of inventory off the client, managing forecasting, quality assurance, fulfillment, and inventory management in a subscription service. Pharmacies sell Shelf Life-supplied goods on consignment through its Pay-As-You-Sell program, avoiding expiry risk and accessing a cheaper alternative to working capital finance. The pioneering model has seen pharmacies grow an average of 25% CAGR.