Guardian Health wins Ayoba hackathon

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Guardian Health, an app that connects clinics, healthcare workers and patients, has won Ayoba’s inaugural hackathon. Instant messenger Ayoba is owned by the MTN Group but operates as a stand-alone entity.

The event introduced Ayoba as a platform for local third-party developers and was held in conjunction with the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town (UCT GSB) and youth ICT organisation Geekulcha. The participating teams had to use Ayoba’s platform to develop apps that address the needs of African consumers and businesses.

In second and third place, were LittleFish, an e-commerce platform, and Wenzan, a video chat app. E-commerce platform Moss Africa came fourth, and Clear House, an app that connects ‘task runners’ and those who need help with daily tasks, took fifth place.

Ayoba’s CEO Nolan Wolff says the hackathon presented an opportunity for developing apps that address community challenges. Over the coming months, a range of lifestyle services will be introduced on the Ayoba platform that will enable users to be part of an online community from a single platform, much like the Chinese super app, WeChat.

For Africans, by Africans

Guardian Health won the hackathon’s R100 000 grand prize. The team also won ITWeb’s #BIDataHack earlier this year for its maternal and foetal healthcare solution, which was inspired by master's degree research by team member Tsitsi Marote.

Marote and her teammate Tino Manhema, say winning the BI Data Hack helped them realise there were other problems in the South African healthcare system that needed addressing.

Guardian Health has evolved from assessing the risk of foetal abnormalities using data such as a slowed heart rate in the foetus, to include a booking and referral system to ease the burden of overcrowded maternity facilities in the public sector. 

The app uses existing maternity datasets such as a woman’s age, weight and general health, to decide if she may need a C-section birth and whether or not she can give birth at a hospital or a clinic. It will also have a task allocation feature for healthcare workers to ensure equal workload distribution between facilities.

Manhema says their healthcare industry research showed how some private hospitals unnecessarily refer pregnant women for C-sections, because C-sections cost more than natural births. The app can be used to audit these referrals.

LittleFish, which won the second prize of R30 000, envisages using geo-location and loyalty programmes to promote small businesses. CEO Brandon Roberts says: “When we think of e-commerce, we only turn to the big names, not realising how much this kills local entrepreneurship, hence our name.”

Siyavuya Ngudle from Cape Town created Wenzan’ (Nguni for ‘what are you up to?’), which was placed third and won R20 000. It was his first hackathon and he says he found it gruelling ‘but it went by like a blur’.

“I’ve been interested in open source technology that allows browsers to use video and audio communication,” he said.To build his app he used WebRTC a real-time communications tool that enables developers to build audio and video communications solutions. This will allow Ayoba users to video call their contacts.

The hackathon’s top five teams will receive support from the UCT GSB’s Solution Space E-Track accelerator programme

MTN’s ecosystem development GM Eero Tarjanne says an Ayoba developer Web site will be launched soon and will provide API documentation, developer tools and the dates of upcoming events.

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