In pictures (from Left to Right): Dickson Mushabe; Regional Manager Hostalite Limited, Faith Kyateka; Communications & External Relations at Marie Stopes Uganda and Jackie Namara; Marketing Manager Vodafone Uganda during the launch of the 2016 Marie Stopes health app challenge, at Vodafone Head Offices on 11th May, 2016. Images by: Nathan Ernest Olupot
In pictures (from Left to Right): Dickson Mushabe; Regional Manager Hostalite Limited, Faith Kyateka; Communications & External Relations at Marie Stopes Uganda and Jackie Namara; Marketing Manager Vodafone Uganda during the launch of the 2016 Marie Stopes health app challenge, at Vodafone Head Offices on 11th May, 2016. Images by: Nathan Ernest Olupot

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 (Hackthorn) aimed at developing mobile application solutions expected to increase the uptake of sexual reproductive health information and services.

The event will take place at the Uganda Museum from 13th to 14th May, 2016.

The hackthorn that has attracted local developers and innovators from 14 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 Kyateka; the communication and External Relation Manager at 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.” she added.

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

Jackie also notes that, “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’s no better way to improving the patient experience and avoiding costly and lire-threatening escalation with timely diagnosis and intervention.”

Earlier this year, Vodafone Uganda held their 4th Edition of Power Talks at Serena Hotel, Uganda, 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.” Ms. Jackie added.

Using methods drawn from design thinking and creative problem solving, the hackthorn will encourage participants to thinks outside the box and design unconventional solutions to promote young people’s sexual reproductive health.

The hackthorn will follow principles of “user-centered-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 hackthorn 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 4G handsets (all handsets come with 1GB data, 60 minutes for local calls and international calls to zone 1 countries and free whatsapp valid for 30 days).

In addition, the winning team in the challenge gets a 4G router with up to 50GB (6mbps data cap) per month, for a period of 6 months; the 1st runner-up will get a 4G router with up to 50GB (6mbps data cap) for 4 months while the 2nd runner-up gets 50GB (6mbps data cap) for a period of 2 month.

The total sponsorship package for the two day event is valued at 8million ugx.

Jackie Namara (R); Marketing Manager at Vodafone Uganda, handing over Vodafone sponsorship to Marie Stopes Uganda and Hostalite Limited.
Jackie Namara (R); Marketing Manager at Vodafone Uganda, handing over Vodafone sponsorship to Marie Stopes Uganda and Hostalite Limited.

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Hostalite has offered to mentor and incubate the developers of the winning app at its fully facilitate 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; Regional Manager E.A, Hostalite Ltd, adding; “We believe in nurturing and empowering local talent and innovators to maximize their potential,” he added.