Rwandan e-commerce start-up Kasha, which sells healthcare products confidentially and discretely to women, has received a $100,000 grant to launch a pilot of its business in Kenya next year.
Kasha, which launched its platform last year, said the grant is from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Kasha users access reproductive health and personal hygiene products via the platform, which are delivered to them discretely.
“Kasha started at a time in the world where women’s access to health products, affordability for all and last mile delivery are important,” said Kasha’s CEO and co-founder Joanna Bichsel at a media briefing last week.
Before the latest grant, Kasha had raised $1.5 million from angel investors and venture capitalists. The e-platform is now accessible via web, mobile app and USSD text.
Anicet Nzabonimpa, a reproductive health expert at Rwanda Biomedical Centre said working on reproductive health and promoting new channels to reach women and young girls is important.
Kasha said 5,000 orders have been delivered since the platform went live in August 2016. The company, which has only been operating in Kigali plans to expand to other urban centres.
The number one selling products include sanitary pads, health and hygiene soaps and emergency contraceptives.
There have been concerns about regulation as the tech company sells health products that may require a doctors’ prescription.
“We work closely with Kipharma (pharmacy) and Arbef (a reproductive health organization) and can provide confidential consultations. If clients want birth control pills, which requires prescription, we connect them to Kipharma,” said Ms Bichsel.