Serge-Alain Wandji: Bridging Healthcare Gaps in Africa

In the world of social entrepreneurship, where profit meets purpose, Serge-Alain Wandji stands as a beacon of hope for millions in Africa. As the CEO and Co-founder of DiaspoCare, he envisions a future where access to quality healthcare is not determined by financial status. His mission: to tackle the pressing healthcare challenges that lead to premature deaths in African countries.

In developing nations, the lack of access to affordable healthcare remains a dire issue. The World Health Organization’s sobering estimate that over 100 million people, primarily in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, are pushed into extreme poverty each year due to their inability to afford healthcare is a stark reminder of this reality.

Serge-Alain Wandji’s journey as a social entrepreneur was ignited by the profound realization of how easily one can face premature death in Africa simply because of limited access to healthcare. In many African nations, the cost of essential medications, like a month’s supply of diabetes medicine, can swallow up an entire week’s wages. This stark contrast to healthcare spending in developed countries is a harsh reality that cannot be ignored.

For Serge-Alain, the inspiration to create DiaspoCare came from a deep sense of moral obligation. As a member of the diaspora, he recognized that those who have the means must step up to support their families back home. His vision is to bridge the healthcare gap by providing accessible and affordable healthcare services to those who need it most.

DiaspoCare is not just a business venture; it’s a lifeline for countless individuals in Africa. It embodies the fusion of entrepreneurship and compassion, where the goal is not just financial success but the betterment of society. Serge-Alain’s journey reminds us that true leadership goes beyond profit margins; it’s about making a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

In a world where healthcare inequality remains a pressing issue, Serge-Alain Wandji and DiaspoCare represent a glimmer of hope—a testament to what can be achieved when purpose-driven individuals commit to creating a brighter, healthier future for all.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

A Journey of Resilience and Healthcare Inclusion

Serge-Alain Awasum’s life journey, from Cameroon to Canada and his path as a scientist, has instilled in him resilience, adaptability, and the ability to tackle challenges head-on. His upbringing in a competitive family with high expectations laid the foundation for his determination and drive.

As an immigrant and a scientist, Serge-Alain faced cultural gaps and the need for patience and persistence in his pursuits. These experiences prepared him for the grand challenge of launching DiaspoCare, a venture aimed at bringing healthcare inclusion to millions in Africa. Through it all, he has learned the power of collaboration and leveraging the strengths of others to achieve ambitious goals.

Recognizes and Addresses Key Healthcare Challenges

Serge-Alain Awasum identifies and addresses two significant challenges faced by African diaspora communities in ensuring the health and well-being of their loved ones back home. The first challenge is the diversion of healthcare funds meant for medical expenses to address other pressing family needs. To tackle this, DiaspoCare provides a solution that allows users to receive notifications when their family members require prescriptions, enabling direct payment to pharmacists for medicine delivery.

The second challenge lies in the prevalence of counterfeit medicines and frequent pharmacy stockouts in Africa. DiaspoCare offers a business management solution, known as Pharmacy-in-a-Box, to assist local pharmacies in managing inventory, drug expiration, and procurement. This solution ensures a consistent supply of genuine medicines to patients, even in areas with limited internet access or electricity. The team’s commitment to medicine authenticity is underscored by their partnership with drug authentication providers, ensuring that payments are cleared only for validated, genuine medicines.

Revolutionizing Healthcare Accessibility

DiaspoCare has set a bold vision for the next decade: to include a minimum of 20 million individuals in Africa’s healthcare system. Achieving this goal hinges on pioneering disruptive business model innovations. The company’s approach challenges the conventional belief that there must be a trade-off between quality and price, particularly in low-income countries. DiaspoCare rejects the notion that healthcare services in these regions should perform at only 50% of the capabilities of developed countries while costing half as much. Instead, their philosophy centers on delivering 100% performance at just 20% of the cost, underpinning their product and business model innovations.

One of their groundbreaking products, Pharmacy-in-a-Box, equips small pharmacies in sub-Saharan Africa to operate as efficiently as major chains like CVS but at a fraction of the cost. This cost-efficiency extends to DiaspoCare’s healthcare financing models.

In 2019, the Nigerian diaspora sent over $23 billion back to their home country, demonstrating significant financial potential within these communities. DiaspoCare aims to transform diaspora communities into a unique healthcare payer group that demands superior healthcare quality at significantly reduced costs.

The DiaspoCare team firmly believes in the feasibility of value-based care. They emphasize the advantage of designing healthcare financing and delivery systems from scratch, capitalizing on digital transformation to enhance the value-to-cost ratio. By doing so, they aim to make high-quality, affordable healthcare accessible to hundreds of millions of people in Africa.

From Scientist to Innovator

Serge-Alain’s professional journey has been characterized by a diverse range of experiences and expertise. He began his career as a scientist, specializing in neurophysiology and reproductive endocrinology. During this phase, he conducted postdoctoral research at renowned institutions such as Cornell University and Penn State College of Medicine, delving into the complexities of neurophysiology and reproductive biology.

His academic pursuits took a strategic turn when he pursued a master’s degree in the Management of Technology from the prestigious Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. This shift marked the beginning of his foray into the world of technology management and innovation.

Serge-Alain’s professional journey continued with roles in diverse organizations, including the Hershey Medical Center, Colgate Palmolive Company, and Cargill. In these positions, he actively engaged in intellectual asset management, technology commercialization, partnerships, and innovation management. His expertise in these areas further solidified his reputation as an innovator and strategic thinker.

One significant milestone in his career was his role as the Vice President of Strategy, Business Development, and Innovation at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Here, Serge-Alain contributed to shaping the healthcare landscape by driving strategic initiatives, fostering business development, and championing innovation within the healthcare sector.

In addition to his corporate roles, Serge-Alain has demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit by co-founding several startups. His extensive experience has also led him to serve on various boards, further establishing his influence and impact in the fields of technology, innovation, and healthcare.

Serge-Alain’s Busy Day 

Serge-Alain’s day at DiaspoCare is a whirlwind of activity, marked by meetings, strategic planning, and collaboration with teams across Africa. His typical workday is characterized by a diverse range of responsibilities and interactions.

  • Team Updates: The day kicks off with updates and meetings with DiaspoCare teams in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria. These interactions help ensure alignment and progress on various initiatives across these regions.


  • Investor Presentations: Serge-Alain dedicates time to investor presentations, where he communicates the company’s vision, progress, and potential to prospective investors. This aspect of his day involves articulating DiaspoCare’s value proposition and growth opportunities.


  • Partnership Meetings: Collaborative efforts and partnerships are crucial for DiaspoCare’s mission. Serge-Alain engages in meetings with potential partners, exploring opportunities to expand the organization’s reach and impact in the healthcare sector.


  • One-on-One Leadership Meeting: Serge-Alain prioritizes one-on-one meetings with members of the leadership team. These personalized discussions likely involve strategy refinement, decision-making, and addressing specific challenges and opportunities.


  • Strategic Thinking: A significant portion of his day is dedicated to strategic and thinking time. This block allows Serge-Alain to delve into critical strategic considerations, innovation, and long-term planning for DiaspoCare.

Throughout this demanding schedule, Serge-Alain maintains a deep sense of gratitude. He values his team members and recognizes their exceptional leadership qualities. He believes that each co-founder of DiaspoCare brings unique talents and capabilities to the organization, highlighting their collective strength and commitment to the company’s mission. Serge-Alain’s gratitude and appreciation for his team reflect his collaborative and inclusive leadership style.

Serge-Alain’s Healthy Routine and Inspirations

Maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle is essential for Serge-Alain, who finds inspiration and motivation in various aspects of his daily routine:

  • Regular Exercise: Serge-Alain prioritizes his physical well-being by hitting the gym for at least five hours a week. Exercise not only keeps him physically fit but also contributes to his overall mental and emotional health.


  • Transcendental Meditation: He practices transcendental meditation, a technique known for its ability to reduce stress, enhance clarity of thought, and promote relaxation. Meditation plays a significant role in managing his daily life.


  • Spirituality and Redemption: Serge-Alain’s belief in redemption and his spiritual connection provide him with a sense of purpose and inner strength. These beliefs guide his actions and mindset, helping him stay focused on his mission.


  • Family and Friends: He places a strong emphasis on maintaining connections with family and close friends. These relationships offer support, companionship, and a sense of belonging that contribute to his overall well-being.


  • Music: Serge-Alain finds enjoyment in listening to jazz music. Music can have a profound impact on one’s mood and creativity, and jazz, with its improvisational nature, may resonate with his innovative spirit.

In addition to these personal practices, Serge-Alain draws inspiration from the shared mission of DiaspoCare. The organization’s dedication to creating a better future for millions of healthcare-disenfranchised individuals fuels his drive and determination. This shared commitment is evident not only in his personal endeavors but also within the entire DiaspoCare team, including their Africa-based colleagues.

Ambitious Future and Serge-Alain’s Leadership Vision

DiaspoCare’s future is marked by ambitious growth plans, aiming to expand its impact across Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana. Their goal is to touch the lives of at least 20 million individuals within the next decade. This expansion reflects DiaspoCare’s commitment to addressing healthcare disparities and improving access to quality healthcare services for millions of people in the region.

Serge-Alain Wandji, as a visionary leader, has a personal goal that aligns with DiaspoCare’s mission. He aspires to inspire, develop, and empower the next generation of African healthcare leaders. By doing so, he hopes to contribute to making Africa a true beacon of hope for healthcare inclusion. His message to aspiring leaders is clear: “Always lead with conviction, always stand for what you believe.” This advice reflects his unwavering commitment to his principles and his belief in the transformative power of leadership with a strong sense of purpose.

Serge-Alain’s leadership journey and his role in DiaspoCare exemplify the positive impact that dedicated individuals can have on healthcare equity and access. As he continues to lead with conviction and inspire others, he contributes to creating a better and more inclusive future for healthcare in Africa and beyond.