Every 60 seconds someone falls prey to Malaria in Sub-Saharan African region. This includes Mozambique on the south-eastern coast of Africa where 29% of deaths are occurred due to this disease. Malaria can be diagnosed in 15 minutes with few drops of blood and if positively diagnosed the local NGO or healthcare center would give free medication to cure the disease.
We found that mostly every household had access to a cell phone. And while literacy rates might be significantly low, they were already using text and other phone services with ease. Ola health was thus born from benefiting the mobile phone adaptability in this town combined with public health model including training of community or frontline health workers to help us reach more people in village sign up using their cell phones. Once signed up successfully, they can send a text message to a central number, which then matches you to a trained community health worker who comes and follows the steps from Malaria diagnosis to providing medication if required.
This project was created at a Ycenter + Microsoft Bizspark Hackathon organized in 2014 in Philadelphia. 3 students created this application in less than 24 hours. After that, they participated in Ycenter’s experiential learning program and with our human centered innovation and entrepreneurial framework, they created first prototype called Connect the Dots, which eventually got modified into Ola Health. This SMS application allowed us to create an effective intervention in 3 villages in the district of Inhambane with collaborating partners like local Ministry of Health and a public health center called The Center of Hope.
The goal of the programs was to engage youth ,through our experiential learning pedagogy, to work on agricultural challenges. Over the two programs we had several promising projects, some of which are being supported by the University of Nairobi.