Kenya’s e-pharmacy platform MYDAWA has been awarded a grant of $1.2 million (Ksh135.2 million) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This grant is aimed at increasing access to PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) services through MYDAWA’s award-winning e-pharmacy model, supporting the fight against HIV& AIDS in Kenya.
Approximately 38 million people around the world are living with HIV with close to 21 million of them in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The stigma associated with HIV and the public nature of the current onboarding system of PrEP has been a key challenge in the uptake of the PrEP Program. This challenge facilitated the search for a different approach that directly led to this funding will help in ensuring increased access to PrEP. Research has shown that when taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV.
“The investment aims to generate evidence on virtual PrEP service delivery. A self-care model can expand the reach of PrEP through the discreet and convenient delivery services that MYDAWA is well known for,” said MYDAWA in a statement to newsrooms.
“This is in line with the Gates Foundation’s goal of accelerating the decline of HIV infection worldwide and saving lives through improved interventions to prevent new cases and simplified HIV treatment.”
To date, the foundation has committed more than US$3 billion in HIV grants to organizations around the world.
“This grant is an endorsement of MYDAWA’s ability and the crucial role the company is playing in the provision of reproductive health services. MYDAWA has been at the forefront providing access to simple and affordable self-tests for pregnancy, and HIV on its platforms,” added the company.
According to MYDAWA CEO Tony Wood, those seeking confidential service delivery can be confident of their privacy.
“MYDAWA will adapt its current model that ensures a seamless end to end customer centred delivery solution for those seeking PrEP across the country,” he said.
“Specifically, this investment will leverage on MYDAWA’s well-established model to expand PrEP delivery online. Together with the University of Washington, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Fred Hutchinson Cancér Research Center, Jhpiego and Audere, we will develop this model, assess its feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness in expanding the reach of PrEP. We will also generate necessary evidence and lessons learned to support policy change and further donor commitment towards this approach.”
This partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, University of Washington, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Fred Hutchinson Cancér Research Center, Jhpiego and Audere will provide the much-needed platform to develop and evaluate a new e-pharmacy service delivery model to support the effective and expanded use of PrEP to maximize the impact among those at most risk of acquiring HIV.