Ismail Badjie, 36, co-founded Innovarx Global Health, a Gambia-based healthcare services company with a mission to transform healthcare delivery in sub-Saharan Africa
I was born in Gambia. When I was 18, I traveled to the United States for college, first to Tennessee State University, where I earned a degree in chemistry, then to Purdue University for my Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD ). After getting my doctorate in pharmacy, I started practicing at a Walgreens store in Charlotte, NC. Before leaving Walgreens to start Innovarx, I was a pharmacy manager where I oversaw $1 million in inventory and helped generate $60 million a year In 2019, my co-founder Gerard Mengang and I left Walgreens to create Innovarx Global Health Many people thought we were crazy, but we imagined what the next 10 years of healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa would look like. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, and we wanted to get out there early to position ourselves to capture market share and help shape the industry. Today we operate a physical store in Banjul. [The Gambia’s capital] and have an e-commerce business, a global telemedicine platform, electronic health records (EHR) integration support, and a mobile clinical unit.
We founded Innovarx Global Health in 2015, before leaving Walgreens, but it took another six years to open our first franchise. We spent those six years learning about the future of healthcare, even going so far as to travel to India, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and China to get a global perspective. Each country educated us on what was possible. If we hadn’t made these trips, we would have created an inferior company. Many businesses create an African version of a business that operates in other regions. We decided to do something different. We took a global idea and wanted Africa to be the first place to receive it. We chose The Gambia as our starting point because it is familiar ground; it has a small population, and we could control a lot of variables in that market. More importantly, there is a need because only 4% of Gambians have health benefits, mostly in the form of private insurance, and can access preventative medicine. Many businesses create an African version of a business that operates in other regions. We decided to do something different. We took a global idea and wanted Africa to be the first place to receive it.
Innovarx Global Health, We built an American-style community pharmacy; it is a vertically integrated operation that leverages technologies in telemedicine, point-of-care diagnostics, electronic prescription processing, e-retail and last-mile delivery of healthcare products and services from quality. Our model is rooted in the continuity of preventive health care and services. Today we have 65 employees in The Gambia and Ghana, and we hope to replicate our model in Lagos, Nigeria. When you start a business in Africa, you become a human development business because there is a huge talent gap. You cannot post a job offer and recruit many qualified people. We had to devote significant resources to developing our team to perform at a high level. Many companies are unwilling to invest what is necessary to make their team function on a global level. This is why people prefer to engage in commodity trading as this sector does not need much human development. Our goal is to continue to develop talent by disrupting the pay scale locally to attract and retain top performers. We pay up to 20% more than the market rate. We have changed the landscape of healthcare delivery in The Gambia. We have established a new way of delivering care. Our successes include adding 200 active subscribers to our all-inclusive annual care plan that covers the routine delivery of medications and diagnostic tests needed to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes. We have approximately 12,000 active customers; Gambians living in the diaspora who sponsor the care of their loved ones locally have played a huge role in our success. About 50% of our revenue in 2020 came from outside The Gambia.
Source: This news is originally published by newsghana