How Blockchain Startup Chekkit is Saving Lives in Nigeria
Nigerian-born healthcare enthusiast, Dare Odumade, always had inspirations to create solutions to the planet’s key problems using technology. For such big dreams, the fundamental work was to understand these problems and develop a practical means to address them. Down the line, this interest became more tailored and focused on the problems caused by counterfeit medicines in Africa.
An encounter a pharmacist friend in Ghana during his time at MEST (Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology) cemented his decision to build a solution to stop such occurrences. His friend had had an unpleasant experience witnessing a close patient pass on after their liver was ruptured due to fake medicine, while in a hospital.
Shaken by grief and combined passion for change, they researched and discovered that the core problems existed as a result of deeply fragmented supply chains in the pharmaceutical industry. Dare returned to Nigeria in August 2018 and shortly after, founded Chekkit – a social enterprise designed to reward consumers for verifying that a product is original before consuming it, which made him a Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur.
One of the unique features of this innovation is that even without downloading an application, Chekkit can be used instead from a smartphone browser via a link. Other users can visit the app or just dail *347*03*PIN#.
To encourage the practice of this civil duty, Chekkit offers rewards to its users after they verify a medicine and answer few survey questions that support the initiative. The PIN and QR can be found on Chekkit’s unique sticker labels which can be found on medical products and other tangible consumer goods Reporting counterfeits directly on the app qualifies a user for a reward.
Through this innovation, over 130,000 lives have been saved in less than 2 years. Dare has also bootstrapped the business into a 6-figures revenue in USD generating business and now raising VC to scale. Chekkit has registered scores of consumer products in millions on a decentralised secured blockchain network with unique IDs for the Nigerian and Afghanistan markets and will continue to work with pharmaceutical and other consumer goods distributors to ensure they can track and trace the journey of products.
On the home front, Chekkit operates with a self-imposed mandate to the people of Nigeria to ensure counterfeit products are reduced in the society by 70% over the next 5 years. It is also contributing to local communities by empowering everyone to get rewarded for buying their groceries or essentials/merchandise. By providing an avenue for Enterprise businesses to reward their consumers and gain insights, Chekkit is also sensitizing communities about the dangers of counterfeits and the need to check before consuming.
Among many things, the COVID-19 pandemic further buttressed the problems of the broken supply chain in the healthcare industry. Start-ups came to the rescue of communities, just as hospitals demonstrated urgent need for supplies. Chekkit, as a wheel for social change, witnessed a steady increase in demand for their services without increasing marketing budget because brands became more interested in digitally and directly engaging their consumers.
For someone who has always had big dreams, Dare’s vision for Chekkit is to be the seal of genuity for every tangible product, while developing the leading distribution chain tracking technology to make supply chains automated for third world economies and the world at large. He wants people to know the history of what they consume, so that in consumption, they are not disadvantaged in any way.