An innovation by four university students that translates the local dialect into English or Kiswahili to make it easier for doctors to diagnose patients’ symptoms remotely has emerged as the overall winner of the fourth season of the Game of Learners (GOL) competition. The solution, dubbed ‘Jambo Care,’ was developed by Team Ruby, which beat 16 other teams from universities across Africa to win the season on Friday. This season’s challenge aimed to develop technological solutions for Africa’s health challenges and featured more than 80 students from 11 African countries, with an equal balance of men and women.
This season, the Microsoft African Development Centre (ADC) partnered with Population Services International (PSI) and AMREF Health Africa in a five-week hackathon to design and build technology solutions that make primary healthcare more accessible to people. This was informed by the fact that African healthcare systems face several challenges, including inadequate health infrastructure, a shortage of healthcare personnel, limited access to essential medicines, low health literacy, and poor health-seeking behaviour. This makes it difficult for individuals and communities to receive high-quality care. Increasing access to affordable digital technology provides an opportunity to address these challenges.
Jambo Care aims to bridge the communication gap whereby the healthcare provider and the recipient don’t have a common language of communication. This will ensure effective healthcare delivery. As part of the next steps, PSI will provide some students with internship opportunities to progress their knowledge in digital health. At the same time, AMREF Health will offer 3-months of technical support to the best two teams to advance their innovations.
Speaking at the Season Finale, Ruth Ferland, the Regional Head of Student & Community Engagements at Microsoft ADC, said: “As part of this year’s competition, we challenged participants to delve into the healthcare sector, identify a unique challenge, and design a tech-based solution. Through the competition, we can obtain what we hope will be a creative solution to one of our long-standing healthcare challenges and assist them in learning more about technology and how to use it for good.”
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