And now we play the waiting game…

Hello all,

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.


Womens hospitalWe are not feeling the drought much as it is raining almost constantly which causes power failures and romantic iPhone lit dinners (both cooking and eating).

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.



Back from Tanzania (with pictures)

Back in Kenya


The trip was very eventful. Most importantly we visited with the dermatologists at the RDTC (Regional Dermatological Training Center) at KCMC (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center). The discussion was very fruitful and we were surprised to find how much experience they have had with teledermatology already. Without spoiling the ending, there are a lot of problems facing health care in Eastern Africa and, dermatology is generally given a fairly low priority. Especially in rural villages where the local nurse/doctor/specialist/random-person-in-a-white-coat is seen as an all-knowing “if the doctor can’t fix it no one else can” type person.

On Saturday we took a day off and headed to Marangu village on the lush south side of a Kilimanjaro. There our guide, Praise (picture), took us around and explained how life there had been and is. We eventually tried local brews called Banana Beer and Banana Wine. To the best of our knowledge there is no difference between the two except for the alcoholic content (beer = 5%, wine = 10%). The local pub (picture), served the millet filled banana beer out of a large blue tub in traditional cups.

Take a look in the pictures section, since there are now a lot of new pictures. We have also migrated from Flickr to Picasa in the pictures section since this works better with our low bandwidth.

Road Trip to Tanzania


It has been a couple of days since our last update due to bad internet connection. Anyways, on wednesday (24:th)  at 0700 EAT (East African Time) we jumped on the bus for Tanzania. We were going there to speak with doctors at the RDTC (Regional Dermatological Training Center) in Moshi, just south of the Kenyan border at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, to see if they were interested in forming some sort of cooperation with our pilot study. We have been in contact with the principal there, Dr. John Masenga, and we had high hopes to have a fruitful cooperation. The RDTC is a center for dermatological knowledge here in East Africa. The meeting went well and it has forced us to reconsider very many things about our research. In total, there are 4 dermatologists at the RDTC and in total about 10 dermatologists in Tanzania. That is 1 dermatologist per four million (that’s six zero’s mind!) people. Absolutely staggering numbers! Dr. Masenga made it clear to us that the shortage of manpower in health care in Africa is substantial. This in turn, requires that any new service has a high efficiency since otherwise, the time put into it might be better used somewhere else. While at the hospital, we met a Finnish surgeon over lunch and decided to invite him with us for a day trip to Kilimanjaro on Saturday.




In unrelated news, we went to a “fireside chat” with a truckload of important people from Nokia this past Tuesday (23rd) at the *iHub_. It was very interesting, but probably nothing we will have much use of for our pilot. Cool though that  Nokia’s executives takes time to come down here and answer questions from the local developers and users. They made clear though that Africa definitely is a huge market for Nokia.

Android Development using Huawei Phone on Linux

Hiho! So this post will be a little different from the norm. I noticed on the internet that a lot of developers have had problems with testing <their android programs on a Huawei phone. So I thought I would contribute to the collective hive knowledge by explaining how to successfully connect your Huawei mobile phone (in my case the IDEOS) to your linux (in my case xubuntu) machine. Our understanding of the situation is that Huawei is selling the IDEOS (touchscreen, android 2.2, 3.2MP) as a smartphone for developing countries. It was the obvious choice for our pilot study (we are NOT sponsored by Huawei, but are open for offers).


Chris with the Ideos

So why the need for this guide? Well, when I tried to run the program on the phone the android device chooser showed a bunch of questions marks (??????????). This is a guide which will fix this. It is furthermore assumed that you have downloaded eclipse and the android development tools (ADT), but this guide should work even if you are not running eclipse.

$ signifies the terminal prompt. The information which is to be executed in the terminal comes AFTER the $. Make sure the telephone is not mounted, by ejecting it but leaving the cable plugged in to the computer.

Step 1: Can you run adb from the terminal?

This is more of a convenience, since you can stand in the platform-tools directory and run adb using $ ./adb but I will now tell you how to add it to your PATH in your .bashrc file so you can run it from wherever you are. So if you cannot run adb from wherever navigate to your home directory and add the following at the bottom of your .bashrc file. I will here use nano to edit the file directly in the terminal, but you can do it with whatever text editor you choose.

$sudo nano ~/.bashrc

Add the following to the bottom of the .bashrc file. NOTE: Replace ~/dev/android-sdk-linux_x86 with the location of your android sdk location!

export PATH=${PATH}:~/dev/android-sdk-linux_x86/platform-tools"

export PATH=${PATH}:~/dev/android-sdk-linux_x86/tools"

Close it down by pressing Ctrl-x -> y + return.
You should now be able to run the adb command as is. Try it by typing

$adb devices

You should see “list of devices attached” regardless of whether a device is attached or not. If a device is attached and you have a problem it should show a bunch of questionmarks.

Step 2: add the android.rules file
We are now going to help adb out by telling it which type of device it is trying to find. First find what type it is:


You should see something like this Bus 002 Device 011: ID 12d1:1038 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.. We are going to be using the ID 12d1 to let adb know it is a Huawei phone.
Since we know that it is a Huawei phone we will create a file in /etc/udev/rules.d/ called 50-android.rules.
Digression: the name of the file is explained in the README file which is in the /etc/udev/rules.d folder. Briefly, higher file name numbers are given precedence. End of digression

$sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/50-android.rules

We then add the following line to to the file before we save and close it.

SUBSYSTEMS==”usb”, ATTRS{idVendor}==”12d1″, MODE=”0666″

Notice how the idVendor attribute value is the same as the Device value above (12d1). This is not a coincidence!

Step 3: Restart adb and some other stuff…
After you have saved the file it should work if you restart udev and the adb server.

$sudo restart udev

$sudo adb kill-server

$sudo adb start-server

You can now check if it recognizes the device by executing:

$adb devices

If it is still showing a bunch of question marks, try unplugging and replugging the usb (I had to). If the /etc/udev/rules.d/50-android.rules file is correctly added you should now be able to run your android program on this device.

Hope this helps someone so they don’t have to spend the time i spent figuring this out.

Of Ethics and Tennis balls


This post will feature a little of this and a little of that. First a friendly FYI that we are continually adding pictures to the (aptly named) Pictures section.

Kentaros talk on Thursday, at the *iHub_ about why it is so hard to get rich and help the poor at the same time, was very insightful and we wish him the best for his continued travels in Africa. It gave some perspective on what role a service such as iDoc24 could or should play in Africa. According to Kentaro, it seems as if good ethics and sustainability has a lot in common, however, this does not imply good business, probably mediocre business at best, otherwise it would be taking money from the poor and that is not fair. Kentaro’s point is that one should aim for one goal, not two. Does this mean that iDoc24 is not for the poor? Not at all! In our opinion the service is flexible enough to be adapted to several different kinds of markets. One might even venture to say that that is essentially what we are doing here. It is essentially about keeping in mind what is development and what is business when expanding the service.

Rickard and out tennis trainer Jack at JD tennis academy

On a more comical but unfortunate note, Chris managed to hit a tennis ball in the most unlikely curved trajectory since the dawn of physics. It flew straight into the tennis managers office and hit his laptops screen. Luckily it would seem the insurance (Love you Kammarkollegiet!) will cover it. We’ve also found a good tennis trainer, Jack (in the picture), that helps us both not to spend so much time in front of our computers.


KT4P: Kentaro Toyama 4 President

Today we went to the Wireless Wednesday hosted at the m:lab (which is an incubator located in the same building as the *iHub_). Leading a discussion there was Kentaro Toyama who is a visiting researcher from the school of information at the University of Berkley, California. He knows a lot about everything 4D (M4D, ICT4D etc.) related and there is a lot of good information on his website and he has some, as yet, unknown connection to an individual called the “ICT4D Jester”. Some of his main points (in our opinion) were the following:

  • Technologies can only amplify human intents. An example is the Google search engine, where people have the intent to find what they are looking for. Without the intent to find whatever they are searching for, the technology would be superfluous.
  • Edit by Kenatro: Technologies can only amplify human intent and capacity. An example is Google maps, which seems like a terrific tool, and for most people, something positive. However, it would be a mistake to think that the tool itself necessarily has positive impact. It was used by terrorists, for example, in plotting the Mumbai attacks of 2008. And, for people who cannot read, a map full of text may be of little value in and of itself.
  • Start with what you need to solve, then figure out if technology (in this case ICT) can help.
For the purpose of our study this has obvious implications with our plans to pilot the iDoc24 service within an existing organization to amplify the effect they are having. The problem needing solving in this case is logistical and health related, and iDoc24 believes their service can help an organization address this problem.
We will be returning to the *iHub_ tomorrow for a ICT4D discussion with Kentaro titled: “Why it’s so hard to get rich and help the poor simultaneously.
Besides Toyama, we also met some very interesting people involved in M4D, such as Megan White Mukuria, CEO of ZanaAfrica, an organization that among other things, provides girls with sanitary pads and work for empowerment of young individuals. Even though this has nothing to do with mobile phones per se, the mobile phones can be used to collect data on school attendance etc. and can therefore be used to aid them in their work.
Overall a very inspiring day.
**Update** Kentaro (and we) think the google maps example is better than the search engine one, so i am hereby officially instating him as a co-author to this post. Welcome to the team Kentaro!


Hi everyone,

Today we went to check out the iHub which, just as we expected, seems to be where it’s all happening when it comes to ICT in Kenya. It just so happened that the iHub hosted an event called IPO48  when we walked by. 12 local developer teams competed for the grand price of €25 000 from the hosting company HumanIPO, a network for accelerating start-ups. The teams presented really cool ideas and showed that there is great potential in the entrepreneurs in Kenya. In the end, HumanIPO decided to fund 3 companies! Interviews with the winners can be found here.


When visiting this kind of event, you usually get very inspired and find yourself wanting to start up a business or two, as was the case tonight. Luckily, that’s kind of why we’re here. As mentioned earlier, the iHub is “where IT is at”, and it seems to hold a lot of local expertise when it comes to mobile development and ICT in general. We will be returning (probably tomorrow (or today as this post is past 00:00)) to see if we can get in on the action and perhaps get some work done at their excellent facilities (20Mbit connect speed om nom nom).

Over and out

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