Increasing medicine availability and safety in Senegal through digital platforms

In sub-Saharan Africa, prescription drug costs are high and health coverage is low. JokkoSanté’s innovative digital payments platform optimises medicine use and access through a system for sharing and cross-financing drugs that amplifies household medicine chests to community chests.



What do you do with unused medicines in your house? After feeling better and discontinuing treatment, many households in Africa retain unused prescription medicines for future use. Accumulation of medicines in these “home chests” creates risk of improper or accidental use as several developing nations have no clear policies or guidelines regarding the safe disposal of unused medicines in the home. A Senegalese entrepreneur saw opportunity in these home chests towards making medicines more affordable for achievement of universal health coverage.


In the Senegalese language of Wolof, Jokkolante means exchange or to give and receive. This became the inspiration behind JokkoSanté, an innovative health financing platform that allows members to purchase medicines with points accumulated on an account linked to their mobile phones. Members accrue points on JokkoSanté by donating unused medicine which are then redeemed at the purchasing of new medicines at a discounted price.


Instead of keeping unused (and not expired) medicines at home, members of JokkoSanté drop them off at affiliated medical facilities and pharmacies where they receive points on their mobile phone equivalent to the financial value of the medicines they donate.


Through cross-financing, JokkoSanté members can directly purchase points for themselves or for family members. This helps to ensure that money intended for health purposes is not misused and that medicines are obtained from licensed facilities avoiding fake drugs from informal street vendors.


In 2015, JokkoSanté first conducted a pilot in a rural community in Senegal. Within a year the platform had registered 750 members covering 600 households and securing the support of Senegal’s largest telecommunications company.


“We welcome technologic innovations such as JokkoSanté and thank CSR efforts such as the one by Sonatel,” said Mr Pape Adama Cisse, then Mayor of Passy speaking on the JokkoSanté pilot conducted in Passy.


JokkoSanté partners with corporates to allow direct and traceable funding of medicines for targeted population segments as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives. In 2017, over 150 children at Diamniadio Pediatric Hospital benefited from medication funded by Sonatel Orange through JokkoSanté.


French multinational, Bel Group began rewarding street vendors of its Laughing Cow cheese with JokkoSanté points as an incentive to boost sales performance. This doubled the number of top street vendors in three months as 200 users in Bel Group’s street vendor network joined.


Initially self-funded, JokkoSanté won a US$150,000 award from the BMCE Bank of Morocco. It generates revenues from commissions of between five and seven per cent on points purchased through corporate sector donation, credit card remittances and mobile money payments. JokkoSanté works well with Senegal’s Ministry of Health having enrolled 27 hospitals, medical centres and pharmacies, and 100 health professionals into the programme.


Key lesson:
● Digital technologies can be leveraged in innovative financing mechanisms for increased affordability of healthcare services



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