MyDawa is Kenya’s first online pharmacy governed by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Kenya. With a team that includes registered pharmacists, pharmaceutical technologists, customer service experts and other professionals who ensure that users get health and wellness products quickly and safely, it has been particularly useful in these times of COVID-19.
We spoke to MyDawa’s Head of Marketing Maureen Ondego for more on their operations and here is what she had to say.
Is MyDawa a pharmacy or an enabler for product deliveries by other pharmacies to clients?
MyDawa is an e-Pharmacy. We are not an enabler to other pharmacies because all the medications we buy are from manufacturers or their main distributors. We do this because one of our key pillars is affordability where we are at least 20-30% cheaper as compared to other pharmacies around. We are able to do this because we’re cutting out third and fourth parties.
How has the whole COVID-19 situation impacted MyDawa? Positive or negative?
It has impacted MyDawa positively because we have tripled our revenues and our numbers. I think the reason for this is that right from the onset, we were the only ones who had the N-95 masks. So, we were actually sold out in less than two weeks.
We are also very affordable. If you check in the market right now for instance, you’ll get most infra-red thermometers for Ksh.10,000/- to Ksh.15,000/- and if you check on MyDawa you’re only getting them for Ksh.6,000/-. Our three-ply masks are very affordable, and we were also the only ones who had the full PPE gear back then.
Right now with MyDawa, we’re encouraging people to observe social distancing or stay home in line with Government directives to avoid contracting or spread of COVID-19. With MyDawa you can order from home and we deliver for free to where you are. So not only are we affordable, but we offer convenience too.
As a company we have also taken the necessary precautions like sanitizing, wearing gloves and masks. Our riders need to sanitize and be in protective gear right from the picking and handling of the products to clients.
How does MyDawa deal with prescription only medication?
We have several steps. Once you have your prescription, you can either upload it on our site or you can send it via Whatsapp. We have trained online medics who verify the prescription and call you and tell you what we have. They know how a legit prescription looks like and they have to validate it.
Once they do that they upload the prescription to your specific account and with that you’re able to pick whether to pay with your medical card, or if you don’t have one you’re able to pay via card or M-PESA.
Once you’ve done the payment, your product is delivered by another pharmtech. This pharmtech will also take you through the dosage, how to take the medication, and the pros and cons. They also get to collect your prescription so that you’re not able to use it again.
Oh, so you also accept payment via medical insurance?
Yes, yes you can pay using medical insurance and we encourage people to do that so that their outpatient covers can last longer.
Given the sensitivity of medication, how safe is MyDawa in terms of quality? And for other products?
First of all, we are licensed. The fact that we buy directly from manufacturers and distributors means we are avoiding counterfeits which are many out there. So, we ensure that we’re buying quality products direct from the manufacturers or assigned distributors. Then, you are able to validate all your medication by scanning the codes on all the packs.
Customers can also validate skincare and wellness products. Plus, if it is Nivea for example, we are working directly with Beiersdorf who allocate us a certain amount of product and a legit distributor. We also have a partnership with L’Oreal and it is the same thing. For sexual wellness products like Durex we are working with their main certified suppliers.
Medical matters are sensitive. How much data does MyDawa require from customers and how is that information kept secure?
We only get the basics when it comes to data. We just require your number and your email and at best delivery address. Those are the key factors. Like all other companies, our data is kept on cloud and we do not share any information with anyone. Like even me, I do not know what was ordered on MyDawa. I just keep the numbers. I do not know who ordered or where they ordered from. So, it is very confidential.
Does MyDawa have a late-night feature?
We deliver up-to 9pm at the moment but you can order any time. If you order at night, the product is delivered first thing in the morning. We open our dispatch area by 7am so latest 8am you’ll have gotten whatever you needed. We are not 24 hours yet.
How far around the country does MyDawa deliver?
We delivery everywhere. Up-to Turkana and Samburu even. Nairobi is basically same day delivery unlike all the other online platforms. Outside Nairobi no matter where you are, we deliver within 24 hours at a very small fee. You’ll be surprised at the fee we deliver at.
You have a partnership with Safaricom for zero rated purchases via M-PESA, and allowing consumers to make payments for purchases using Bonga Points. What has been the response like so far?
Our customers appreciate not having to incur additional transaction costs while making purchases from our app via M-PESA.
We are also happy to provide them with more payment options such as Bonga points to make it easier for them to get whatever they need from MyDawa at no extra cost.
I think it is a very good advantage especially now with the pandemic because people have been laid off work or have lost their sources of income, and they actually have Bonga points they can use to save cash. More people need to consider redeeming their Bonga points while shopping on our platform.
Do these partnerships cater only for pharmaceutical products or also extend to other health and wellness products as well?
We try to ensure that all our partnerships cover overall, not only pharmaceuticals. There are a lot of people right now who are suffering from acne, eczema, mental wellness problems and all that. If it is a partnership we’re trying to make sure that it is applicable to everybody and to all our products. There are people at home who are feeling isolated, getting worried that they’re just seated at home gaining weight… all these are valid concerns and we want to cover them all.
What other partnerships does MyDawa have for the better running of the business and better delivery of purchases?
There is a lot in the pipeline, like the online surveys now that a lot of guys are not going to hospitals. We have also just closed on a very good partnership where if your child is not feeling well and you don’t want to increase chances of infection by going to hospital, you can call a doctor who will attend to you at a small fee and you’re then able to get your medication.
The other partnerships we are working with are to enable us to get the best discounts that we can get and have specific hampers that will be applicable to our clients. Like for grooming a lot of guys are not going to barber shops or salons. So, we are trying to get grooming kits, hair and skincare products, and everything that you need so that we’re just taking care of you overall as MyDawa.
We are also working on innovations around refills and reminders especially for chronic patients. This is something that will involve telcos and we are working on further partnerships with them.
We are looking at zero rating the app as well with Safaricom and all other telcos.
How about transport? Like I’m currently in Nyeri. If I buy skincare products from here, who brings them?
At the moment we have partnered with Fargo Courier. Every day they come collect products and then dispatch them overnight. You don’t even have to go to the Fargo office, they’ll bring them directly to you in Nyeri.
If you buy today, by tomorrow morning you will have your cleansers, your moisturizers, and all that.
Oh, by the way I’ve been worrying about that.
You see? See how we need to change this perception that you need to go to a pharmacy or supermarket to buy legit things. And that these services are not Nairobi centric. You can get anything from anywhere in the country.