Faceless Hackers: a birth at Techfugees Kenya 2019 Hackathon at the iHub

Faceless Hackers e-health project was born from the first ever African  hackathon hosted by Techfugees Kenya in 2019 in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), Google Kenya, Oracle Kenya and iHub with the aim of supporting refugees in Kakuma, Kalobeyei, to first track emergencies and alert for health related issues

Through this solution, the KRCS Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) can efficiently track records and schedule alerts for patients with different illnesses to either take their medication or see a health practitioner. Through our application is an urgent first responder solution to tackle health issues and also to issue alerts for refugees to take in their medication once on boarded.

A 3 modules application to improve its efficiency

What we want with Faceless Hackers is to improve the efficiency in clinical conditions management in refugee camps in Kenya with an e-health solution that makes it easy to report, monitor, assess and act upon health related problems. 

Our solution is divided into three modules; mobile application, a USSD application, and a web dashboard application in order to make the app’s functionality very impactful. All three collaborate to achieve efficient communication between the health workers, the refugees, and the Kenya Red Cross. 

Specifically, the mobile application can be used by both the CHV and the refugees to report health issues to the relevant authorities. It automatically picks up the location of the person reporting the case, to facilitate tracking. It also has the ability to remind the patients of their appointment days, or when to take their medication. On the CHVs’ side, it is able to flag defaulters.

The USSD app acts as a backup to the mobile application. It is used to report emergency cases, where it picks up the user details and their geographical locations. The USSD app will be useful where there’s limited internet connectivity, and for users with feature phones.

Last, the Web Dashboard  is used to track patients’ progress, alert health workers of the defaulters and analyze the reports from refugees and CHVs, such that outbreaks can be flagged early and appropriate measures can be taken in due times.

A #Tech4refugees project with a long term vision

Business Model: We envision securing partnerships that will help us secure funding to aid  in the commercialisation phase of our project in infrastructure development, expertise, logistics expenses just to mention a few. Additionally, our application is free but also offers premium functionality and different subscriptions.

Long term Vision: Our vision is to scale up our solution in other areas of the Kakuma Refugee camp and also into other refugee camps. Currently, we are looking forward to launching the project pilot at Kalobeyei 1 & 2 areas.

#Tech4Refugees project: e-health project builds technology and innovation that contributes to improve health needs and rights of refugees and displaced persons, not only at Kakuma Refugee Camp. Throughout the project development, we have worked hand in hand in customizing the project to suit the needs of the refugees in the camp by directly being in contact with Community Health Volunteers. Together, we have built the project employing a bottom up approach not as subjects but equal actors.

Difficulties encountered: Our project aims at enabling local health workers and community leaders to provide early health warnings and avert more serious health problems in Kakuma refugee camp.  Reporting health issues relevant to the Kenya Red Cross in local communities is challenging. Some of the problems include:

  • Difficulty in finding the location: The names of locations inside the camp and surrounding areas regularly change, making it difficult to identify where problems are once the KRC staff hear of them
  • Delays in reporting: it can sometimes take several days (or more) before the problems identified in communities reach the right people at the KRCS
  • Describing the seriousness of the problem: With language barriers and literacy gaps often a problem, those wishing to report issues often have trouble describing the full extent of what they have found .

Faceless Hackers and Techfugees: a boost for the app’s development

TF Hackathons: We got to be part of Techfugees Kenya 2019 Hackathon hosted at ihub Kenya. We were excited to be selected as part of over 200 applicants. Such an experience it was to interact with different people across the technology private sector  and humanitarian sector. After hacking for 30 hours, we, Faceless Hackers, were thrilled to be selected as the winners of the hackathon given that as the Jury we had addressed the challenge with such a level of technicity, with a reasonably valid business plan and a well-proven prototype and data storage system 🎉

As the winning team, we got offered a valuable award including a year free incubation at iHub, $5,000 in development tools from Oracle, support in developing, prototyping and testing the solution in Kakuma and Kalobeyei from the Kenya Red Cross and development tools from Google 🏆

Throughout our project development and user testing, Techfugees provided us a platform to access mentors from the Kenyan ecosystem including Google, Africa Talkings and Samuel Hall. Additionally, Techfugees Foundation donated 300 USD thanks to Slash Data to be utilised during USSD infrastructure development ahead of our pilot launch.

What are the next steps for Faceless Hackers? 

We are currently working to launch the pilot of the e-health project. Our timeline entails:

We require more funding, infrastructure support and accelerator services to ensure that our project is commercialized in the next 6 months. We are open to different stakeholders and partnerships to support the project and ensure successful commercialisation.

We are so grateful to Techfugees for the support in terms of mentorship, funding, network and opportunities and definitely looking forward to working with Techfugeees on a long term basis. Also, we look forward to impacting the communities at Kalobeyei with the e-health startup project with better health care access.

To support Faceless Hackers, click here or send a message to petra@techfugees.com.

And watch the launch of the Pilot App on Facebook Live here.