Over the past two decades changing lifestyles have resulted in some negative health impact. Sedentary lifestyles, overweight and obesity has ensued in a rise in prevalence of diabetes and hypertension. Diabetes which affects about 425 million people globally has become the highest contributor to high morbidity and mortality rate in the world. Ugandans have not been immune to the growing problem of diabetes, hypertension and other chronic conditions. According to the World Health Organisation 33% of premature deaths for people between 30-70 years in Uganda in 2018 has been attributed to non-communicable diseases.  The number of death per year has been estimated to grow due to risk factors such as harmful use of alcohol and drugs, physical inactivity and improper dietary planning and adherence.  

In a bid to fight the growing burden of chronic conditions, MTN has partnered with Baobab Circle Limited, a health technology company based out of London that specialises in digital mobile intervention programmes for remote patient monitoring and applied health signals in the management of chronic conditions. Baobab Circle Limited is a renowned health technology company with operation in Sub- Saharan markets, the Middle East and spreading its wings in East Africa. The company uses mobile health technologies to address the need for self-management of chronic conditions for improved health outcomes. There is a growing consensus that personalised and localised digital innovations in the health care field have yielded improved health outcomes. The partnership between MTN and Baobab Circle Limited is earmarked to revolutionise diabetes and hypertension management and monitoring for people living with the conditions. 

The partnership will witness the availing of Afya Pap, a mobile application that is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) for personalised diabetes and hypertension, meal planning and physical exercise planning and tracking. The application allows users to receive personalised daily health tips to help people understand and clear misconceptions around diabetes and hypertension. Key topics covered by the daily health tips include but are not limited to nutrition, physical exercises, medication, general well-being and mental wellness. Speaking to the Head of Partnerships and Business Development for Baobab Circle Limited, Mr. Spencer Matonhodze, he highlighted that the mobile application is seamlessly integrated with smart glucometers and blood pressure monitors, allowing for patients to test and store clinical repository data, which can automatically be shared with their care partners which could be either a family member and or a personal doctor through a caregiver module:  

‘We as Baobab Circle, are especially proud of this partnership that is aimed at empowering those with diabetes and hypertension to do the best for their health. We have integrated smart glucose meters and smart blood pressure meters for seamless checking and uploading of reading to the platform. Once the reading is uploaded, the user gets an action item on what their reading means and what they can do to keep healthy”

More so, the application allows 24/7 accessibility of a medical practitioner, nutritionists and sports therapist. The feature allows users to chat with either a medical practitioner, nutritionist and or sports therapist in the comfort of their homes and get the needed assistance anytime without necessarily having to pay a physical visit to the doctors. However, Mr. Matonhodze emphasised that the feature does not replace doctors’ appointments rather it only offers convenience in the absence of a doctor and when prompt assistance is required.  

Afya Pap, a mobile application that was designed to educate and help people living with diabetes and hypertension monitor and track their conditions currently sits above 500000 installs.  The application was launched in August of 2015 and has managed to rack up downloads in 10 countries and managed a user retention rate of 60.6% since its launch. The application have a won a number of awards including the Sanofi Diabetes Innovation Challenge (2019), AMREF health innovation challenge (2018) and Nominated for the GLOMO health innovation award at World Mobile Congress (2019) among other awards. MTN Digital Services GTM Manager, Onyait Odeke is confident the application will go a long way in promoting universal health coverage and transformation of lives in Uganda.  

Making daily healthy lifestyle changes is made easier with Afya Pap. Download Afya Pap for daily personalized health tips and so much more. Click here to download: bit.ly/AfyaPap

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