Microsoft has always worked to provide women and youth opportunities to bridge the skills and gender gap in technology through various hackathons. And the latest one under their belt is a virtual initiative, Game of Learners (GOL), developed by the Africa Development Center (ADC) executed by Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors.
To ensure that all participants had required tools to participate in the initiative, every participant received:
• A Solar panel with battery and inverter
• MiFi device loaded with data bundles
• LinkedIn Learning vouchers
• Azure Fundamentals exam vouchers
• DevOps and agile practices training
• 1-year Azure credits
• Digital certificate and digital badge for participation
On launching the virtual initiative, participating students engaged in weekly sessions and at the end of the 5th week, all participating teams submitted their final projects for judging. On 24th July 2020, an entry featuring the development of a unique mobile-based medical application emerged winners in the Game of Learners (GOL) competition sponsored by Microsoft’s Africa Development Center (ADC).
The mobile application which was dubbed RemD (short form for Remote Doctor), was developed by five students drawn from Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Multimedia University of Kenya, Strathmore University and Mt. Kenya University. They developed the application based on GOL challenge to demonstrate the application of technology in the developing e-health systems that will enable patients to access normal medical services remotely. They faced stiff competition from various universities but the holistic medical services app took the win. The RemD app was developed by five students namely, Daniel Katungi (Mt. Kenya University), Sandra Makena (Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Joshua Melita (Strathmore University), Cyndrella Wafula of Multimedia University and led by Microsoft Student Ambassador Joshua Ndemenge (Dedan Kimathi University).
Besides having the winning team featured on the ADC site along with announcements on social media, each standing member of the winning team will be rewarded with:
• Additional 1-year Azure credits
• Additional 1-year LinkedIn Learning vouchers
• Digital certificate and digital badge for winning
• 1:1 mentorship from preferred Microsoft professionals
RemD uses technology to avail a set of tools and services that aim to bring health care services to a user or an organization. Through the app, a user requests for consultation services selecting whether they would like consultation with either a general physician, a psychiatrist, or a paediatrician. They then receive a message from the bot to begin triage where all the symptoms are recorded. After the triage, the bot sends all the information recorded to the doctor on the App. The doctor continues the conversation with a user via SMS. If the doctor deems it necessary, an in-person appointment can be set up.
RemD’s team leader, Joshua Ndemenge explained that users can access RemD through their mobile app or USSD, while the doctor on the other end can interact with these users using the windows app.
The African Development Center Managing Director Jack Ngare congratulated all the 25 participating students noting that some of the projects presented had big potential for commercialization and Microsoft was willing to support them achieve that dream. Apart from RemD App, the other projects submitted include Tribore, MediChap, Mizizi and Motion, all showcasing various solutions to avail healthcare solutions via different technology platforms.
In addition, Microsoft Research is running a programme called HealthNext that seeks to discover some of the new sustainable methods of offering healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa and India and as such would be following up on some of the projects submitted to see how they can be scaled to the next level.
Through the ADC, Microsoft is enabling digital transformation, bridging gaps in infrastructure, connectivity and capability while creating sustained societal impact on the African continent. The center is recruiting world-class African engineering talent to develop innovative solutions that span the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge and the hackathon complemented ongoing efforts to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa.
Access to health care has always been a concern to many Africans as many people can’t afford to access it where and when they need it. And now that the corona virus is here with us, having access to healthcare is fundamentally important. In fact, it has accelerated the impetus to discover new technology solutions that will enable health providers to handle an influx of people. It is through such initiatives from Microsoft that we get to see cutting edge medical technologies that are accessible to as many people as possible regardless of their societal status.