By Samuel Ouma
Daktari Media Africa, the first online Continuous Professional Development (CPD) program certified by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC), strives to improve the quality of Kenyan healthcare by ensuring that health practitioners stay current in this rapidly changing industry.
Pioneered by John Mwangi, 35, Daktari Media Africa provides an avenue through which the community of healthcare professionals (HCPs) can interact, train, publish research papers, attend and earn Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points through its flagship product, Daktari Online.
Daktari Media Africa was recently one of five startups that won the 2020 Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA) Business Plan Competition in response to COVID-19 organized by Japan International Cooperation Agency.
John Mwangi recently also emerged second in the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award spearheaded by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) and Speak Up Africa.
In a Q and A with PAV , John Mwangi sheds like on his work , its impact , and recognitions.
May we start with an introduction of Daktari Media Africa and what motivated you to create it, and how did you raise funds for your venture?
Media Africa was registered as a Company in 2015 though it was born out of an experimental project I was doing back in 2012. The project entailed development of a self-assessment system for doctors meant to measure their knowledge retention after attending a training session. We soon realized there was a big knowledge gap between doctors practising in the cities and those practising in upcountry settings. This was our motivation to build www.daktarionline.co.ke, an online platform to democratize continuous learning by allowing healthcare providers access quality and accredited training modules through use of technology. Through the learning platform, healthcare providers are also able to earn continuous professional development (CPD) points, which are a requirement by their regulators before renewal of their annual practice license. Daktari
We are accredited in Kenya by the Medical Council, Pharmacy Board, Nursing Council and the Clinical Officers Council as a trusted training partner for the cadre practice they regulate.
We have built the company through bootstrapping, that is, through use of our personal finances and the operating revenues the company generates.
What was your primary driving force to become an entrepreneur, especially in the healthcare sector?
My primary impetus for being an entrepreneur in healthcare sector was the impact our solution would deliver to not only the healthcare providers but also the ripple effect it would produce in delivering quality and better care to patients.
How do you generate business ideas, and what makes your company different from others?
I generate business ideas by being observant and identifying challenges, which I have a clue on providing the solution, partially or fully.
What impact do services offered by Daktari Media Africa have in Kenya and East Africa?
Through our platform, we disseminate accredited training materials on updates and latest disease management practices to healthcare providers across Kenya and East Africa region. The platform allows the materials to be accessible regardless of the geographical location healthcare providers practice in. This saves them time, travelling costs to access training and other related costs.
Since we are an accredited as CPD provider, healthcare providers accessing training via our platform are able to earn the points/certificates, which our system directly submits to their regulators.
The ripple effect to a healthcare provider who regularly updates their knowledge and skills is better care delivery to the patients and reduced referrals, which save time, and costs to patients.
Could you share some of the awards and recognitions that Daktari Media has received?
NINJA 2020 Business Plan Competition by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) – Top healthcare innovative company in Kenya
Africa Young Innovators for Health Award – 2nd position in Africa
World Physiotherapy Day 2020 – Best Collaborative Training Partner for Physiotherapists in Kenya
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as an entrepreneur?
- Disjointed government regulations, developing a sustainable business model and funds raising.
We understand you’re participating in the ongoing Galien Forum Africa, what is your take on the forum, and what are your expectations from the 2021 edition?
It was a great forum allowing young African innovators share their experiences with innovator wannabes. Also, an excellent platform to discuss challenges and showcase solutions developed by Africans for Africa.
What message did you seek to convey during your panel discussion on the Young Innovators Award for Health?
It is possible for young Africans to create solutions that are scalable, sustainable and contextualized to the African needs and setup.
When you look across Kenya and East Africa, what are some of the major issues you see pertaining to innovation in health and STEM in general?
There is a lot of enthusiasm among young people to create solutions based on different challenges experienced in the health sector. The sector has many stakeholders to deal with and is heavily regulated by the governments. The young innovators often lack proper mentorship and guidance to navigate this sector given the factors mentioned above.
What next for you and Daktari Media after the forum?
Personally, I look forward to enhancing our collaboration regionally through networking and forging possible partnerships.
As of Daktari Media, we are in the process of upgrading our platform in preparation of expansion to allow health workers not just in Kenya but across Africa to access continuous trainings at their convenience.
What piece of advice would you give to people aspiring to become entrepreneurs in the health and science sector?
Passion fuels entrepreneurs’ ambitions. To run a successful enterprise, one must find a problem/challenge whose solution they are passionate to create.
Value comes before reward. They should remember to first focus on creating value and a reward will consequently follow.
Every challenge presents an entrepreneurship opportunity!
Are you planning any further innovations in the health sector in the near future?
Yes definitely. Entrepreneurship has a way of opening one’s eyes into existing challenges cum opportunities.