MYDAWA, the first online pharmacy in Kenya, has received $1.2 million in grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and evaluate innovative Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, delivery.
The company says its new telehealth application enables end-to-end virtual healthcare for customers seeking to access Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, a medication that is taken after possible exposure to HIV, and PrEP, which is taken daily by those who have an ongoing risk of acquiring HIV.
“MYDAWA is here to be your partner throughout your PrEP journey. MYDAWA will facilitate everything from your first consultation to delivering PrEP to a place convenient for you! To get started simply book a consultation,” according to the e-pharmacy’s website. “Or if you have already taken a Mylan or Sure Check HIVST – upload an image of your HIVST result here to get started!”
Approximately 38 million people around the world are living with HIV, with upward of 21 million in Eastern and Southern Africa, according to a recent report in Kenya’s TECH Magazine.
But the stigma associated with HIV has prevented many from seeking care.
“This is particularly apparent among populations who are vulnerable to stigma such as men who have sex with men, and female sex workers,” according to the report. “This challenging environment in tackling HIV facilitated the search for a different approach to PrEP initiation through online channels that are more discrete.”
The new telehealth approach was developed in partnership with several organizations, including the University of Washington, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Centre, Jhpiego and Audere.
The website offers facts about PrEP, HIV self-test kits and guidance on how to get approved to purchase the medications through telehealth consultations on MYDAWA’s platform.
With funding support, telehealth services increased in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.