Hack4Health initiative — a partnership between Standard Bank, Africa Teen Geeks and Kingsmead College

| September 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

Kingsmead College in Melrose, Johannesburg, Gauteng, recently hosted a Hack4Health hackathon in partnership with Standard Bank and African Geek Girls, who represent Africa Teen Geeks, an African non-profit organisation based in Paulshof in Johannesburg that provides computer science training in schools and in underserved communities. Says American technology journalist, Aaron Lawrence: A hackathon is an event where computer programmers and software designers get together for a short period of time to create a solution to an existing real-world problem using technology.

The participants work rapidly and often work without sleep to achieve their task, as the events generally only last 24 hours or take place over a weekend. Hackathons are often competition-style events where participants build prototypes of software applications like web or mobile apps. Once the time runs out, all participants come together and present their creations to a panel of judges, who then vote and determine the winners. Hackathons also host workshops and guest speakers, and connect participants with seasoned mentors.

The Kingsmead hackathon’s hypothetical mission was to try and solve the challenges patients face when they go to public hospitals to see a doctor. Patients, who are already ill, must wait in long queues. Eight Kingsmead girls, two girls from Guild Cottage (a treatment centre for traumatised children supported by Kingsmead) and 70 Teen Geeks participated in the hackathon over two days.

Standard Bank provided the mentors and Kingsmead made its computers, Wi-Fi and venues available. Chantel Maina, a Grade 11 Kingsmead girl, was part of the winning team. Says Lulu Burger, head of innovation and information and communication coordinator at Kingsmead College, “A variety of solutions emerged and the depth of ideas was extraordinary, sometimes coming from very young participants.” The winning team’s solution was in the form of an application that can be used on any device to speed up the process of being admitted to hospital. Maina explains: “The system would take the form of a website and as such will be accessible through any device. “The system would serve the particular function of recording and updating patient information, classifying patients into categories of urgency and specific health departments and then passing that information through to doctors and other relevant parties.”

Category: spring 2017

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