Health initiative expands with 1,000 new phones

The Ebola Care app has the ability to benefit a range of different activities undertaken by aid organizations.

About two months ago, South African startup, Journey set out to develop an app that could assist in the battle against Ebola. The app, known as Ebola Care, was developed in conjunction with a Liberian-based organization called More Than Me.

The initiative attracted global press interest, and was featured in prominent publications including Forbes, CNN, Al Jazeera and Fast Company. The exposure enabled Journey to reach out to US-based technology companies for support, and ultimately secure a donation of 1000 Android phones that fuelled the expansion of the project.

For their invaluable contribution, Philip and Malan has been honoured by the South African Parliament, and More Than Me founder, Katie Meyler was named one of TIME's Persons of the Year for her work with Monrovian orphans during the crisis.

The Journey team has worked tirelessly to make the app available to more organizations battling the spread of Ebola. Journey partnered with GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding platform for nonprofits that has existing relationships with local organizations fighting the disease.

Through GlobalGiving, Journey was able to engage with an additional 20 aid organizations in West Africa, and is now developing customised versions of the Ebola Care app based on each organization’s needs and existing processes.

The Ebola Care app has the ability to benefit a range of different activities undertaken by aid organizations. For instance, the app is currently being customised for an NGO called IsraAid that focuses on the psychological well-being of those affected by the crisis, from health workers to survivors.

Aid workers and medical personnel in disaster situations are often traumatised by working with victims, orphans and a general atmosphere of despondency. Over-stressed, unmonitored workers can make costly mistakes that, in the case of Ebola, could prove fatal.

The app will be customised to collect data on health workers' psychological state so that an appropriate response can be arranged and mental health risks can be mitigated. The app will also capture inspirational stories from survivors to inspire hope and raise awareness in affected communities.

Journey's robust technology ensures apps are well-suited to the remote areas where medical care is typically administered in the developing world. Apps continue to work offline, are easy to use, can be deployed rapidly and updated instantly, and work best on low-cost android phones.

Journey has been involved in a myriad of successful mobile health projects over the last five years, many of which took place in rural or informal settings. It is with this expertise and technological capability in mind that Philip and Malan decided to direct some of Journey's resources at the Ebola disaster in West Africa.

In November of this year, the South African Parliament moved to recognise Journey co-founders, Philip and Malan Joubert for their involvement in the Ebola Care project. The motion, instituted by the Inkatha Freedom Party, was made to "applaud Malan and Phillip Joubert on their laudable initiative and encourage aspiring South African inventors to be mindful of the important roles that they can play in protecting humanity through developing such ground-breaking technological applications." Parliamentary recognition is one of the highest honours a South African can receive, since all 400 members of the National Assembly have to support the motion.

Shortly after, TIME Magazine announced its Person of the Year: the Ebola fighters. TIME mentions a number of extraordinary fighters, including, More Than Me founder Katie Meyler, who played an instrumental role in the development of the Ebola Care app.

For the Ebola Care initiative to keep adding value and be made available to even more organizations, additional funding needs to be secured. To make a donation or raise awareness about this project, please visit www.appsagainstebola.org

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