Gregory Rockson: Disrupting the Healthcare Ecosystem in Africa through Innovation
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Gregory Rockson, the co-founder and CEO of mPharma. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Gregory! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your startup?
Gregory: Glad to be with you, Spiffy! Our vision is an Africa that is in good health. mPharma is a patient-centered, technology-driven healthcare company that is disrupting the healthcare ecosystem in Africa by addressing the fragmented drug supply chain and its resulting impact on accessibility and affordability of drugs and healthcare services in Africa. As a healthcare provider, we provide innovative solutions, including vendor-managed inventory services for hospitals and pharmacies, a pharmacy-in-a-box franchise solution for community pharmacies known as “QualityRx,” aimed at scaling primary care solutions for community pharmacies, and a “heal-now-pay-later” financing solution for patients who pay for their drugs out-of-pocket—all of which mPharma pioneered in Africa.
Spiffy: That sounds amazing! What motivated you to tackle this challenge?
Gregory: My motivation stems from a desire to directly and positively impact the health outcomes of patients in the communities we serve. By improving health outcomes, we are (in)directly improving social, economic, and financial outcomes of our customers as well.
Spiffy: How are you or your organization working towards a more equitable world?
Gregory: Each month, over 200,000 patients visit their mutti pharmacy or GoodHealth shop for their health care needs. Through QualityRx, we are increasing access to health facilities that complement the understaffed and under-resourced public (and private) health facilities in the countries we operate in. By prioritizing preventative care through our innovative programs such as “Community Health by mutti,” which provides free health screenings for community members, we are able to identify and help treat medical emergencies that are waiting to happen—particularly for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Each month, over 12,000 people receive free health screenings under this program.
Spiffy: Amazing! Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make on your community or audience?
Gregory: We recently acquired the majority stake in HealthPlus, the leading pharmacy chain in Nigeria. Powered by mPharma’s proprietary Bloom software, HealthPlus will provide patients access to affordable primary care services within its pharmacies, in addition to affordable and quality medications it currently retails across 12 states in Nigeria. The HealthPlus pharmacy chain will also launch mutti®, mPharma’s health membership program, which will provide both existing and new customers with discounts, interest-free “heal-now-pay-later” plans, free health screenings, and other primary care services.
Spiffy: Congratulations on that success! Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Gregory: I recently faced a challenge where one of my team members managing our Eastern African operations had failed to do the right thing leading to a ripple of complications in those markets. Although the impact of this was significant (which made me feel like I had failed our Eastern African team), I focused on what we needed to do to put things right and formed a team that would lead the transformation.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Gregory—it’s been an honor!
Gregory Rockson is the co-founder and CEO of mPharma. mPharma is a patient-centered, technology-driven healthcare company that provides innovative solutions, including vendor-managed inventory services, retail and primary care solutions for community pharmacies, and data analytics. His contribution to the healthcare industry has earned him several awards, including the Skoll Award for social entrepreneurship and recently the Rotary Foundation Alumni global service award. (Nominated by Yacob Berhane of Pariti. First published on the Ladderworks website on May 5, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.