Vodafone Uganda, a provider of 4G-LTE high-speed broadband data services, has partnered with Marie Stopes Uganda and Hostalite Limited, an e-commerce solutions provider, to hold the 2016 Health App Challenge (hackathon) aimed at developing mobile application solutions expected to increase uptake of sexual reproductive health information and services. The event will take place at the Uganda museum from May 13 to May 14, 2016.

The hackathon that has attracted local developers and innovators from 12 universities across Uganda, is in response to the growing commitment to leverage information and communication technologies to empower young people, complimenting Marie Stopes Uganda’s ongoing work in the area of reproductive health.

Speaking at the launch of the Challenge today, Faith N. Kyateka, the Communications and External Relations Manager, Marie Stopes Uganda, said, “Reaching young people with Sexual Reproductive Health information and services is one of the key focal priorities of Marie Stopes Uganda. This is because youth makeup majority of Uganda’s population. Developing an APP is therefore essential because 80% of youth in Uganda have access to media through mobile phones.”

Dickson Mushabe, the regional manager E.A, Hostalite Ltd, Faith N. Kyateka, the Communications and External Relations Manager, Marie Stopes Uganda holding a dummy checked that was handed over to them by Jackie Namara, the Marketing and Communications Manager of Vodafone Uganda today at Vodafone House.

According to Jackie Namara, the Head of Marketing and Communication, Vodafone Uganda is pleased to partner with Marie Stopes and Hostalite Limited to make this year’s Health App Challenge a reality because it believes information and communication technology (ICT) is critical to the delivery of healthcare services and information.

“Through technology it is becoming easier to decentralize care from primary and secondary care facilities to the home environment, resulting in patient empowerment through increased access to health services. There is no better way to improving the patient experience and avoiding costly and life-threatening escalations with timely diagnosis and intervention,” Jackie noted.

In March 2016, Vodafone Uganda held the 4 th Edition of Power Talks whose main focus was on forging ways on how ICTs including; mobile apps can be utilized to enhance the delivery of health care to millions of Ugandans.

“We strongly believe that by the end of the challenge, the teams would have come up with mobile solutions that will lead to increased uptake of sexual reproductive information and services in Uganda,” Jackie added.

Using methods drawn from design thinking and creative problem solving, the hackathon will encourage participants to think outside-the- box and design unconventional solutions to promote young people’s sexual reproductive health. The hackathon will follow principles of “user-centred design”, actively engaging young people in the development of solutions that are based on their real needs and experiences.

After two days of designing and developing, the hackathon will conclude with a pitch session, where an expert panel of judges will select the winning app prototype(s).

Vodafone Uganda will award the top three winning groups a total of twelve (12) 4G handsets (all handsets come with 1GB data, 60 minutes for local calls and international calls to zone 1 countries, free WhatsApp valid for 30 days). In addition, the winning team in the Health App Challenge gets a 4G router with up to 50GB (6mbps data cap) per month, for a period of 6 months; the 1st runner up team, gets a 4G router with up to 50GB (6mbps data cap) for 4 months while the 2nd runner up team gets 50GB (6mbps data cap) for a period of 2 months. The total sponsorship package for the two-day event is valued at UGX 8 million.

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Hostalite Limited has offered to mentor and incubate the developers of the winning app at its fully facilitated Labs at Hostalite Cyber Academy in Bukoto.

“At Hostalite we use the latest technology and strive to apply it in a way that enhances the human experience,” said Dickson Mushabe, the regional manager E.A, Hostalite Ltd, adding: “We believe in nurturing and empowering local talent and innovators to maximize their potential.”