Problem: Medication shortages and other access challenges for chronic disease and other patients in Egypt and the Middle East.
Solution: An AI-powered, GPS-enabled digital platform to help chronic patients order, schedule, and refill their recurring medicines in spite of their location or income.
Goals and objectives: To assist patients make scheduled medicine orders in a bid to tackle challenges with accessing medication in a timely fashion.
Implementation: CHEFAA was founded in May 2017 by Doaa Aref, a dgital marketing manager and advertising strategist and her friend Rasha Rady, an assistant lecturer of pediatric hematology at Cairo University. While Ms. Aref was a patient of thyroid cancer, the two friends discovered the challenges Egyptians face in ordering recurring prescriptions for chronic diseases, due to accessibility, inconsistencies in pharmacy stocks and other logistical hurdles. These challenges are further compounded by the fact that legislations governing pharmacy operations in Egypt date back to the 19950’s and 1960’s and therefore not suitable for modern-day services.
As a consequence, the two friends have advanced the digitization of Egypt’s pharmaceutical operations by designing a mobile app that enables patients with chronic diseases to order their prescriptions and have it delivered to their homes every month. CHEFAA allows its customers to order a month-worth of prescriptions in a single order, with a possibility of monthly recurrence. The CHEFAA service also provides monthly reminders for patients to refill their prescriptions and also notifies customers when a certain medicine is running low in the market so the customer could consult their doctors for an alternative.
CHEFAA provides its users with a real-time search engine, which facilitates their ability to make orders, and schedule deliveries with a GPS functionality. It also runs a medicine-dedicated corporate social responsibility platform to match donations with low-income patients.
To place an order, a customer scans his or her prescription using the CHEFAA app, selects their respective location and chooses the preferred method of payment. The order then goes to a nearby CHEFAA pharmacy partner who process the order via their CHEFAA app. If one nearby pharmacy cancels the order, it automatically goes to the next one without having the user to do anything. The delivery of products, as per local regulations, is taken care of by the pharmacies.
Beyond providing prescription services, CHEFAA’s database offers great insights about the entire pharmaceutical market, such as locations of medicine availability and unavailability, places of consumption of certain products, and what the market share of some medicine companies is like.
Even though CHEFAA focuses on recurring orders by patients with chronic diseases and that’s where most of their orders come from, the company also serves single prescription customers to order their medicines.
CHEFAA is a free service for patients, however, the company charges pharmacies a commission fee on transactions and a monthly subscription fee in case of scheduled monthly packages for chronic patients. It also charges monthly subscription fees to medical and pharmaceutical organisations in return for access to market analytics and data.
Achievements: In its first 12 months of operations, CHEFAA fulfilled more than 100,000 orders through over 800+ pharmacies, and generated total sales of more than US$1 million.
CHEFAA is currently operational in nine Egyptian cities and is expanding its services to other Egyptian states and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This innovative enterprise has been recognized by the prestigious Cartier Women’s Initiative.
Doaa Aref, Rasha Rady
Address: 151 Maadi Al Khabiri Al Wasti, Al Maadi, Cairo Governorate 11728, Egypt
Telephone: +2 01003363656