So here we are, we are done with our study here in Africa and believe that we have managed to get some good material for our thesis as well as having helped iDoc24 get a foot in the door, so to speak. Before we return to Sweden, we are going to relax a little bit. Chris’ girlfriend Ellinor came down on Friday and since then we have gone on two safaris. First to Nairobi national park were we managed to spot most of the big ones.
The highlight was when we managed to spot a male lion about 10m from the car, while Toto-Africa was on the radio, what a moment! Then yesterday we went to lake Naivasha and Hells gate national parks, located about 1,5 hours north of Nairobi, which meant that we went through Rift Valley (top pic) and got to see the wonder that it is. Here we went on a boat safari as well as hiked through the gorges of Hells gate, amazing!
Currently, we have said farewell to our apartment and are on a beach in Zanzibar for some nice relaxation.
The weather forecast looks bleak but the sun is currently shining and we have high hopes that rain will come in short bursts only.
Location: Bellevue beach restaurant, tours and rentals and bar (with wifi).
Playing: coco de rasta – artist unknown
A lot of things has happen since last time. First of all, Chris’ dad Paul came to visit for the week. Due to this, we have done a few touristy stuff, such as visit the Nairobi museum, go to the Maasai market in Nairobi, get our phone stolen and Chris and Paul went on a quick safari in Tsavo. However, we’ve had a lot of progress with the study as well; the pilot with the Nairobi Women’s Hospital took off on Wednesday and when we discovered that the doctor that helped us in the study had a suitable phone, we installed the app on her phone so that the pilot could continue for the remainder of our time here, without us needing to be present. What we’re looking at here is how the service works in a hospital setting with high medical expertise.
Yesterday we went to AfriAfya’s resource center (RC) in the Maasai village Kisapuk just north of the Tanzanian border. With our trusted driver Riwel and AfriAfya’s ICT and field officer Tonny with us, we were in good hands. The RC was located in a primary school and our goal was to see how the service might work in a setting where there’s no medical personnel. We were very well received and between interviewing the responsible ICT guys at the center and being guided around the premises, Chris had time to teach some math to the kids and I taught them some juggling. The idea of a service such as iDoc24 was very well received and can definitely have a future here. All the technical requirements exists already, both when it comes to internet connection as well as the necessary hardware. The HCI requirements are also there, a desire for new technology as well as a well functioning maintenance and training system. The biggest issue is the monetary one and it seems as if some form of aid program is needed in the marginalized communities.
Check out the new pictures in the pictures section. See you soon again.
Finally we’ve got the ethics application approved! We immediately booked tickets to Kisumu and after only 15h on the train we arrived. Greeting us was Afriafya’s ICT field officer Tonny. After some delicious local lake Victoria Tilapia we quickly drove to one of their locations an hour outside of Kisumu to partake in a lesson of basic Internetting with the local community learning committee made up of teachers and people from local organizations. They have adapted a teaching method that they call the multiplier effect where this core group of people are to teach 5 persons each about the basics of computing and in turn they will teach 5 and so on.
Today, we went to another site, one of the first establishments in the region and had a few sessions with the community health workers there. These are a big group of women (and 2 men) who voluntarily goes around to all the homes in the nearby community each month to collect health data. This way, they can trace disease outbreaks and keep track of pregnant women etc. After our sessions we’ve got a somewhat different view of the situation in rural Kenya and understood the importance of local community engagements. Tomorrow we plan to start sending in some cases and hopefully follow some community health workers around for their rounds to get a better understanding of their work. All in all though, it seems as if this would be an ideal place to launch this service as far as needs and desire to adopt new technology goes.
OK, so we got our ethics application back, with the message that we needed to supply further information, which has taken some time to procure. Hopefully by Monday, we’ll get the final verdict. In the meantime though, we have among other things arranged for a trip to Kisumu, by lake Victoria next week with AfriAfya where we will hopefully get to spend some time with the local community health workers as they do their rounds to collect health information in the local community. An issue for our study is that people with dermatological conditions do not prioritize them until they reach a critical state. It will be very interesting to see what role a service such as iDoc24 could play in such a setting.
AfriAfya is an organization that, like several organizations, are based in the AMREF building here in Nairobi. They focus on ICT and have so called resource centers scattered all over the country, often at a school or a clinic in rural areas without electricity. Most of them therefore run on solar panels. In these resource centers, they provide the local community with one or several Internet connected computers as well as other ICT gadgets. Cool stuff and we’re very exited to see it.
We’ve now handed in our ethical approval application to the authorities (KEMRI) and are waiting for it to get approved, which will take yet another week. During this time we’ve prepared questions, contacted and met with various organizations, such as AMREF, Afriafya and The Women’s Hospital of Nairobi, which is just across the street. They all seem very interested in the service and we hope to be able to perform the study as planned and try out the service in health care facilities with actual patients. We’ve also met with a venture capitalist to discuss the possibilities for a possible future launch in Kenya.
If you have any questions about Kenya and or our study, don’t hesitate to ask us and we will answer them publicly or via e-mail. Especially students from Swedish universities can ask us about MFS studies and developing countries if they want.
Over and out.