By our reporter
Vodafone Uganda has partnered with Marie Stopes Uganda to hold the 2016 Health App Challenge (hackathon) aimed at developing mobile application solutions expected to increase uptake of sexual reproductive health information and services.
The hackathon attracted local developers and innovators from 12 universities in Uganda. The development is in response to the growing commitment to leverage information and communication technologies to empower young people, complimenting Marie Stopes Uganda’s ongoing work in the area of reproductive health.
Speaking at the launch of the Challenge, Faith N. Kyateka, the Communications and External Relations Manager, Marie Stopes Uganda, said, “Reaching young people with Sexual Reproductive Health information and services is one of the key focal priorities of Marie Stopes Uganda. This is because youth makeup majority of Uganda’s population. Developing an APP is therefore essential because 80% of youth in Uganda have access to media through mobile phones.”
Jackie Namara Rukare, the Marketing Manager Vodafone Uganda, added; We are pleased to partner with Marie Stopes and Hostalite Limited to make this year’s Health App Challenge a reality because it believes information and communication technology (ICT) is critical to the delivery of healthcare services and information.
“Through technology it is becoming easier to decentralize care from primary and secondary care facilities to the home environment, resulting in patient empowerment through increased access to health services. There is no better way to improving the patient experience and avoiding costly and life-threatening escalations with timely diagnosis and intervention,” she added.
In March 2016, Vodafone Uganda held the 4th Edition of Power Talks whose main focus was on forging ways on how ICTs including; mobile apps can be utilized to enhance the delivery of health care to millions of Ugandans.
“We strongly believe that by the end of the challenge, the teams would have come up with mobile solutions that will lead to increased uptake of sexual reproductive information and services in Uganda,” Ms Namara added.
Using methods drawn from design thinking and creative problem solving, the hackathon will encourage participants to think outside-the-box and design unconventional solutions to promote young people’s sexual reproductive health. The hackathon will follow principles of “user-centered design”, actively engaging young people in the development of solutions that are based on their real needs and experiences.
The top three winning groups a total of twelve (12) 4G handsets. In addition, the winning team will walk away with a 4G router. The total sponsorship package for the two-day event is valued at UGX 8 million.
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Hostalite Limited has offered to mentor and incubate the developers of the winning app at its fully facilitated Labs at Hostalite Cyber Academy in Bukoto.
“At Hostalite we use the latest technology and strive to apply it in a way that enhances the human experience,” said Dickson Mushabe, the regional manager E.A, Hostalite Ltd, adding: “We believe in nurturing and empowering local talent and innovators to maximize their potential,” he added.