Three Kenyans are among 30 African innovators who have been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) for creating the best health apps in Africa.
Moi University Professor Eunice Kamaara, medical doctor Fridah Njogu, and bio-statistician from Plan International, Geoffrey Omondi, were among the seven East Africans who emerged top in WHO’s first innovation challenge.
Improving record keeping in hospitals
Dr. Fridah Njogu and Mr. Geoffrey Omondi created apps that would improve record keeping in hospitals consequently promoting accountability.
“The problem we are solving is that most health managers in sub-Saharan Africa lack information or records on the quality of health service they give and therefore cannot make decisions as to which areas need improvement,” the 37 year old medical doctor pointed out.
As a result, Dr Njogu developed Afyakit which contains digital supervision tools which can provide analytics in health facilities.
“Giving an example of the case where many infants died in a Kiambu hospital… if the hospital had installed Afyakit, they would have easily looked at the analytics to deduce the possible causes, whether lack of capacity to remove retained uterus or to administer antibiotics and so on,” Ms Njogu told Daily Nation.
“Without a system of knowing these challenges, managers cannot make proper decisions or optimal supervision of health services and therefore lack actionable data. Resources are allocated without the benefit of correct information and this wastes time and money and affects service quality,” Dr. Njogu added.
On a similar note, Mr Omondi has created an application called Smart Paper Technology (SPT) which has the ability to scan health data written on paper, digitize and upload it into a hospital management system without the use of electricity.
“The innovation delivers all the benefits of electronic health record systems, and enables smooth implementation in clinics and areas without electricity, connectivity and security,” the 30 year old elaborated.
Improving society’s moral fabric
Professor Eunice Kamaara on the other hand created a social app called African Character Initiation Programme (Acip) which is responsible for mentoring adolescents so they can evade early pregnancies, drug abuse, and contracting diseases like HIV.
“Acip has been tested in a multitude of areas within Kenya, as well as Malawi and Nepal. Over the last 13 years, the programme has directly assisted over 2,000 boys and girls through workshops and camps and directly mentored over 1500 individual boys and girls,” said Prof Eunice.