iafya Health Initiative
- BlackBerry teamed up with Avallain and produced a super health application for the people of Kenya. The iAfya app for BlackBerry Smartphones gives BlackBerry subscribers fingertip access to a broad range of health information.
- Designed especially for the BlackBerry platform the application entails various sections including basic first aid, frequently asked questions, contact a health worker, look up medical conditions, look up medical procedures, news and even an illustrated section which has a sort of cartoon vibe.
With to switch between English and Swahili, the app will give freedom to make the most of discovering health information and helping them with seeking assistance. iAfya works on all BlackBerry 7 devices and is free to download from BlackBerry App World now.
By Fredrick Obura
A group of doctors from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa have come up with a simple technology to improve knowledge among Kenyans.
“Whether you want to look up medical conditions, browse medical procedures, check treatment options or need basic first aid; the iAfya application offers the answers for free.” said Dr Allan Makenzi (pictured), founder iAfya Health Information.
Doctors say lack of awareness on serious health complications is causing deaths from preventable diseases such as malaria, cholera, and cancer now claiming thousands of people annually. Widespread cause of deaths in the third world countries could be attributed to inaccessible information.
Recently at a Mobile West Conference in Nairobi, the application was voted best, a position, which earned it space at the Blackberry App World. “After my masters study in health economics from Cape Town University, I had a stint at the Agakhan hospital in Nairobi,” said Dr Makenzi.
Dealing with diseases
“My interaction with patients’ revealed lack of precise information in dealing with diseases, the knowledge gap is causing many their lives from diseases which can easily be dealt with at earlier stages,” he says. “I also learnt that many especially those from rural parts of the country relies on traditional methods in curing diseases, a cow dung for instance is used in curing wounds,” he says.
“This is not hygienic, it only worsens the situation by exposing one to other diseases,” he said. Two years ago at a conference attended by delegates from other parts of Africa, he realised the situation was the same. “Patients die elsewhere as in Kenya due to lack of information,” he notes. “I teamed up with like-minded doctors from Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa on how to avail basic information on prevalent cases such as malaria, HIV, cancer, diarrhea to majority if not all,” he says. “We settled on mobile phones as a medium of reach because of its wide adoption in Kenya and beyond.”
“The application can be accessed on Internet enabled phones, users can access medical conditions and procedures in text and in illustration formats on over 5000 different diseases available in the application,” he says. The number of mobile subscribers in the country has increased to 29.2 million between January and March 2012 up from 28.08 million in December last year.
According to the 3rd quarter sector statistics for the financial year 2011/2012 released by the Communicatons Commission of Kenya, 89.10 per cent of the population has access to mobile phones.
Access to health