Remember Game Of Learners? The hackathon that was sponsored by Microsoft’s African Development Center in Mid-June this year? Well, we have a winning entry. And it is in the all-important medical application category, and remote medicine to be precise. Before we get into the story about the winning team, get to read the details of the competition.
The idea behind the hackathon was to develop technology based solutions to local problems, but if the entrants had something that is scalable globally, the better. With the rate at which the medical field and indeed all fields are moving to digital, an e-health system stood as good a chance as any other category. The Managing Director for The African Development Center Jack Ngare did in fact note that the projects presented had big potential for commercialization and Microsoft was willing to support them achieve their dreams.
The winning team which has five students drawn from Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Multimedia University of Kenya, Strathmore University and Mt. Kenya University came up with Remote Doctor mobile application dubbed RemD that will enable patients to access normal medical services remotely. Quite an apt and timely application especially in this time of night curfews social distancing as each one of us tries to play their part to beat the pandemic.
The students who managed to beat stiff competition and emerge tops are Daniel Katungi (Mt. Kenya University), Sandra Makena (Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Joshua Melita (Strathmore University) and Cyndrella Wafula of Multimedia University. They were led by Microsoft Student Ambassador Joshua Ndemenge from Dedan Kimathi University.
How does RemD work?
For one the app allows users to request for consultation services by selecting whether they would like to consult with a GP, a psychiatrist or a paediatrician. Once the user engages with the app, they receive a message from the bot to begin triage where all the symptoms are recorded. The bot then sends all this information to the doctor on the app and he/she picks up the conversation and continues engaging with the user via SMS. The doctor can then decide whether a particular user’s case needs more attention, in which case they can recommend a physical appointment. Users can access the platform through the mobile app or USSD, while the doctor uses the windows app.
These kinds of hackathons is the way to go to encourage learners to think broader and also to dare to try things. We have thousands of brilliant minds in our learning institutions and all they need is a stepping stone like what the African Development Center. Being recognized, challenged and rewarded is quite the morale boost and will get those energies working for the youth, for the universities, for society and for the economy as a whole.
Morale boost aside, the ADC saw to it that the playing field was level for all participants by providing each of them with a solar panel with battery and inverter, MiFi device loaded with data bundles, LinkedIn Learning vouchers, Azure Fundamentals exam vouchers, DevOps and agile practices training, 1-year Azure credits, Digital certificate and digital badge.
The winning team gets to get featured on the ADC site and each member will also receive an additional 1 year Azure credits, additional 1 year LinkedIn learning vouchers, a winners digital badge and digital certificate, as well as one on one mentorship with Microsoft professionals.
This hackathon and the winning team comes at a time when Microsoft Research is running a programme called HealthNext that seeks to discover some of the new sustainable methods of offering healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa and India and as such would be following up on some of the projects submitted to see how they can be scaled to the next level.