Startup Saves Lives by Ridding African Market of Counterfeit Drugs

 Wei Liu, Co-Founder/Chief Science Officer; Amy Kao, Co-Founder/Chief Marketing Officer; Anna Hwang, Director of eCommerce Analytics and Client Engagement; Daniel Adereti, MAM Class of 2017; Ankur Kapadia, President; not pictured: Adebayo Alonge, Co-Founder

More than 100,000 people die every year in Africa from counterfeit medicines, and that number is increasing. Adebayo Alonge (SOM ’16), a student in the SOM Master of Advanced Management program, knows all too well. He nearly died from counterfeit drugs in a Nigerian hospital.

Alonge relayed that experience to Amy Kao (SOM ’17), a former consultant for the pharmaceutical industry, during the 2015 Yale Healthcare Hackathon. Today, Alonge is CEO and Kao is chief marketing officer of RxAll, a company they co-founded that’s building an artificial intelligence platform enabling spectrometers to authenticate legitimate medication.

Operating chiefly in African countries such as Nigeria and Kenya, where counterfeit drugs are widely available, the platform connects hospitals and pharmacies with verified medical wholesalers, informing pharmaceutical manufacturers of counterfeit products in real time. To date, RxAll has received funding from the Nigerian government and the Nigerian Ministry of Health, as well as InnovateHealth Yale and the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute.

Yale Professor Writes: The Power Of International Partnerships In Higher Education

The Author

I accepted leadership of Yale University during a period of inspiring and sustained economic growth in Africa— eleven of the top twenty fastest growing economies in the world were from the continent. It was the ideal moment to build upon Yale’s partnerships in Africa and to bring related scholarship and education at the university into sharper focus. During my inauguration as the president of Yale in 2013, I announced Yale’s Africa Initiative. By working with collaborators in Ghana and other countries in Africa, I knew we could advance academic excellence at Yale and our partner institutions.


Yale, Kenyan scientists renew collaboration on tsetse fly research

Dr. Sam Kasiki, Dr. Felister Makini, and Peter Salovey.

On March 16, President Peter Salovey and Serap Aksoy, professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, took part in a signing ceremony with the Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organization (KALRO) and Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) to continue an existing collaboration in the biomedical sciences in the area of vector biology. The renewed agreement allows for the transfer of tsetse fly parts to Yale, where further research will be conducted to develop a more thorough understanding of the biology of parasitic diseases.

Parasitic diseases transmitted by the tsetse fly have long plagued human and animal health in tropical Africa, causing devastating epidemics and limiting agricultural and economic prosperity in tsetse-infested areas. Ensuring effective tsetse control is a high priority for improvement of human and animal health and the Kenyan and African economies.

Alum-led startup Sanergy aims to address sanitation crisis in Africa

Peter Salovey touring the Sanergy manufacturing plant in Nairobi, Kenya.

On March 14, President Peter Salovey toured Sanergy, a manufacturing facility in Nairobi, Kenya, founded by David Auerbach ’03 and Lindsay Stradley ’03. The company’s mission is to make hygienic sanitation affordable and more accessible throughout Africa.

More than 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to basic sanitation services, leading to contaminated water and food supplies, according to a 2017 report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Inadequate sanitation, caused primarily by lack of physical space, infrastructure, and limited resources, is now the second-largest cause of disease in the world.

Yale Announces MBA Scholarships for African Students Aiming to Make an Impact

Speaking at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 15, Yale University President Peter Salovey announced an expanded opportunity for emerging leaders in Africa to pursue an MBA education at Yale. The Yale School of Management will dedicate two scholarships in its full-time MBA program for students from the continent who intend to return and contribute to economic growth in their nations and communities.

“This initiative is part of a broad commitment across the university to build on our longstanding relationships in Africa,” said President Salovey. “Yale, our partner institutions, and even the world benefit immensely from our collaborations with people and organizations on the continent.”

Salovey extends Yale research and educational partnerships in Ghana

President Salovey reflects at the Kwame Nkrumah memorial statue at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and memorial park in Accra, Ghana

President Peter Salovey and a delegation of Yale faculty members and staff are traveling in Ghana and Kenya this week, March 10-16. The visit takes place during the five-year anniversary of the Yale Africa Initiative (YAI), an ongoing effort to prioritize and further expand Yale’s collaborations in Africa that Salovey announced in 2013 when making his inaugural address. Since then, Yale has extended its partnerships throughout the continent with an emphasis on educational exchange and innovative research that addresses global challenges.

Salovey believes firmly that working with African institutions provide immense opportunities for sharing knowledge and ideas, benefiting both Yale and its research and educational partners.