Why We Invested: Wellness for All. How OneHealth is providing Access for the Bottom of the Pyramid

The CcHUB Syndicate is an investment vehicle of CcHUB. Learn more about our work.

The Rationale

Our mandate is to deepen support for early-stage technology ventures building consumer internet and infrastructure that will power the African digital economy.

Okay, what does this mean? It means we invest in founders and companies building digital infrastructure to make public and private services smarter and connect them to a larger populace or linking multiple public and private services thereby creating a strong network effect that results in increased accessibility.

OneHealth had participated in the Second Cohort of CcHUBโ€™s Women in Business Programme. The Startup support team gave a glowing review about the founder and we were excited to meet her and learn about her work with Onehealth. When our team first interacted with the co-founder and CEO of OneHealth, one of the questions on our mind was, how did this tech-enabled retail pharma company fit into our theses?

Today, Africans rely a lot on faith and varied superstitions, often as a substitute for decent healthcare. If you doubt this assertion, ask the insurance man who continually competes with deities to manage risk on the continent. 

As Africaโ€™s largest economy by population and consumer market, Nigeria has been hailed as the next frontier for pharma after South Africa and the hotspots of Northern Africa. 

Nigerian Pharmaโ€™s market value is projected to reach about $4 billion by 2026, from $1.6million in 2016, with 55% of this market coming from prescription drugs. Despite the recent macroeconomic challenges, the Nigerian economy remains an important frontier for pharmaceutical businesses.

McKinsey predicts Nigeriaโ€™s pharmaceutical market could grow as high as 9% yearly by 2026. Pharmacies will play a big role in this growth, contributing between $950 million and $1.1 billion during the same period. Also, according to the Goldstein Market Intelligence analyst forecast, the Nigeria pharmaceuticals market size is set to grow at a CAGR of 9.1% over the forecast years of 2017-2030.ย 

This interesting data is driven by the fact that many Nigerians today access primary health care through community pharmacies, patent dealers (popularly called chemists by the locals) or the Abokis (which means friend in Hausa) who have little or no formal education but are able to procure drugs in the open market for retail in the neighbour mom and pop shops or street corners.

Solomon, a 24 year old chauffeur who works in Lagos earns $100 a month (~NGN50,000). He recently discovers he has recurrent headaches and a mild flu, so he decides to visit a patent dealer very close to his house. He does not want to take time off from work as he believes any drug prescribed by Uche the owner of the store should resolve the issue.

Even though he frequents the high street pharmacies to procure drugs for his employer, he cannot afford to spend $15 (more than 10% of his salary) for the treatment of a common cold or malaria which he suspects may be the reason for his recurring headaches. Moreso, he does not have an active health care plan that covers his medical care and wellness so he rarely visits the doctorsโ€™ office. This is the narrative for millions of Nigerians particularly the lower middle and low income individuals across the country. 

Healthcare spending in Nigeria is predominantly a private affair, with out-of-pocket spending accounting for 70% of total health expenditure in 2016, compared with just 7% in South Africa. Private health insurance accounts for about 5% of this expenditure, compared with 45% in South Africa. 

As a result, we have an informal pharma economy accounting for 75% of the value of the pharma market. The informal distribution and retail networks, which are heavily fragmented, have allowed counterfeit drugs to sometimes go unnoticed. This flaw in our healthcare delivery system has inadvertently created a cause for concern. 

Yeah, weโ€™ve got a long way to go! (in cassieโ€™s voice).

Having worked with companies in the insurance industry, particularly in life and health insurance it is easy to see why OneHealthโ€™s business model and positioning comes at a critical time. There is a significant push to support the bottom of the pyramid with products and services curated and crafted to serve that market across different industries and even the financial services industry is not left out of the trend with microinsurance and micro pension products.

Copyright: Copyright World Economic Forum/Photo by Liu Ying

The Company

OneHealth has taken a holistic approach to pharma service delivery by offering its services both online and through its physical locations. The company sells affordable medication, gives health education, and offers a wellness platform to improve access to health care for the public, especially people at the bottom of the pyramid. OneHealth is leveraging technology to break down the very many barriers that Nigerians face in accessing quality medicines and healthcare services.

Its Founder

Adeola Alliโ€™s mission is to stir and empower community engagement through its platform and provide tools for Nigerians to take charge of their health.

Through the platform, customers have access to one-on-one interaction with the team of medical experts online or in person. Its Wellness Club package is a subscription-based service that allows OneHealth to put together medications tailored to its clientsโ€™ pre-existing medical conditions and deliver them to their doorstep as required. OneHealth seeks to provide visibility and information that allows its members to monitor their health status and progress through its health analytics dashboard as well as engage other members and health professionals. Ensuring wellness is not a term only for the wealthy.

Adeola, a seasoned pharmacist with many years of experience in the US and UK is passionate about making access to quality healthcare a reality for the masses and has launched OneCare, an arm of OneHealth that empowers people to give back to their community or get support from it through donations, requests for funding, and various health drives.

The Future of OneHealth

OneHealth is positioning itself as a leader in providing access to healthcare and wellness for the lower middle and low-income persons in Nigeria. The company is closing several partnerships with HMO offering health care plans to this demographic to ensure they can access genuine and affordable medication. It is pioneering and scaling its wellness service to help patients in the management of chronic diseases and partnering with SMEs to help develop simple ways to integrate healthcare management for their employees. It already delivers to several states across Nigeria and would be extending its physical footprints to those locations in due time.

So why did we invest again?

The company meets our infrastructure mandate as it provides widespread access to quality and affordable healthcare. The founder is deeply passionate about solving the problem that exists in accessing genuine and affordable medication and is constantly innovating in the area of products and services to drive this vision. 

Honestly, it is a huge problem they are solving. Itโ€™s not a Nigerian problem, this problem exists across the African continent.

Finally, it aligns with our ethos of profit from purpose. We have built a reputation for supporting highly impactful companies and we will continue to do so into the foreseeable future!

Thatโ€™s why we invested! We are exhilarated about the journey and canโ€™t wait to share the impactful stories we create together.

Click on this link to invest with us in amazing companies like OneHealth.