Tabi Jackson Gee | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Five Female Ugandan Students Have Developed A Life-Saving Health App

Five Female Ugandan Students Have Developed A Life-Saving Health App

The Debrief: It's a home testing kit that could prevent STIs and we're all sorts of impressed

Remember the last time you worried about having an STI/what that weird burning sensation was/why it hurts every time you pee (delete where appropriate)? For most of us our health (and the health of our vagina) is a high priority, and we can nip to the local drop in centre if ever there’s cause for concern.

For girls in Uganda it’s not so simple, so five entrepreneurial students have found a solution – an app that let’s you self-diagnose Bacterial Vaginosis – a problem that 50% of Ugandan women in rural areas suffer from. Margaret Nanyombi, Jackline Namanda, Esther Ndagire, Pauline Nairuba  and Bridget Mendoza go to Uganda’s Makerere University – where they call themselves The Code Gurus.

Most cases of BV in Uganda go undiagnosed until it leads to something else – because a trip to the doctor can cost you $27, and the average Ugandan woman only earns $33/month. According to TakePart, Nanyombi began working on the app after her friend’s mother passed away from cervical cancer.

Bacterial Vaginosis is caused when too much of a type of bacteria changes the balance of your normal bacteria – an abnormality that can be a symptom of cervical cancer. BV can also increase a woman’s chance of getting HIV – which affects 8% of Ugandan women. The test, called Her Health BVKit, is super simple – you place a urine sample into a piece of hardware that’s linked up to an app on your phone, and it tells you if you need to go to the doctors or not.

At the moment it retails at $60, but the girls are hoping that with the help of funding they’ll be able to reduce the cost and distribute it widely. They also want to partner with NGOs and set up free kiosks offering free BV information and regular testing to women in more rural areas.  

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