There is no doubt that Kenya is all about being mobile. Between money transfer system MPesa and the interactive mapping tech company Ushahidi, among others, it seems that every social entrepreneur in the country is honing in on the vast potential that the portable web holds for development and entrepreneurship.
With a population of 40 million and only 7,000 doctors, new venture MedAfrica is seeking to revolutionize the country’s health system on this same wave of technology for social good. Developed by Shimba Technologies and led by creative duo Steve Mutinda and Mbugua Niijhia, the innovative app, which will automatically connect any Kenyan with a mobile phone to a variety of health services, is already creating buzz even prior to its official beta launch on October 1.
At the recent 2011 DEMO Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., for example, the app is predicted to pull in a $2 billion revenue in the next five years and aims to be available on 200 mobile devices within the same time frame.
In his presentation to the conference, Niijhia discussed the range of benefits gained from a mass-scale improved exchange of medical information.
Referring to his home as an emerging market -– “think long distances, think poor infrastructure, but then again think opportunity” -– the start-up’s business director demonstrated MedAfrica’s innovative use of interactive mobile web technology, as well as the ways in which the app will begin to help fill some of the gaping cracks in its health care system.
Operating as a database with which you can interact to tailor to your personal medical needs depending on location, symptoms and history, MedAfrica leads users through a variety of steps to help them self-diagnose minor problems, track accredited professionals and the services they provide and even call doctors directly.
Hoping to become a sustainable business in addition to a social initiative, Niijhia and the rest of Shimba certainly appear to be well on their way to creating an incredible transformation to the current problems faced by Kenya’s health care.
To find out more about MedAfrica, check out the presentation that earned so much attention at the DEMO Conference. Also, stay tuned for the company’s website launch next month, and be sure to follow @MedAfricaOrg for further updates.