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    October 29, 2014

    SA startup creates app to help fight Ebola

    As everyone knows, the current Ebola crisis in West Africa is about as serious as things can get. It is estimated that more than 10 000 people have been infected with the deadly virus, and aid workers around the world are doing everything they can to help.

    However, these aid workers also need help in managing their response quickly and most importantly, efficiently. And this is exactly where a innovative South African startup comes into play.

    Journey is a South African tech startup from Cape Town that has just developed an app that aims to help aid workers in West Africa deal with the increasing pressure in assisting those infected.

    The Ebola Care app was developed by Malan and Philip Joubert – the two young South African founders of Journey.

    The Joubert brothers recently took their startup to San Francisco, to expand it in Silicon Valley. It is here, in the heart of the tech industry, amidst thousands of other tech startups, that they became aware of the Ebola crisis and just how quickly it is escalating.

    They then decided that, with Journey, they could do something to help fight the disease. 

    “œThe Ebola outbreak is the kind of thing you assume “˜other‘ people are worrying about“¦ until you realise that perhaps you are “˜other‘ people, and it‘s time to start doing something,“œ Philip said.

    That “˜something‘ then turned into the Ebola Care App.

    To find out what they as a tech startup could do to help aid workers in West Africa, the brothers contacted Liberian NGO‘s, questioning them about their biggest struggles in dealing with Ebola.

    More Than Me is a non-profit organization in Monrovia, Liberia, who is currently developing the app alongside Journey.

    Sam Herring, data manager for More Than Me, then emphasized the need by aid workers for real-time data collection. And as luck would have it, real-time data collection happens to be one of Journey‘s fields of expertise.

    A Herring said: “œefficiency stops the spread and stopping the spread saves lives.“

    Once the brief was scoped, the Ebola Care app was born – a mere 4 days later. This mobile solution was then shipped to Liberia.

    The app is essentially a tool for aid workers to respond efficiently to the crisis and monitor those infected. It uses GPS co-ordinates to trace infected patients and their families, which then assists ambulance teams in collecting those infected in order to capture vital information.

    Most of the affected areas run on paper medical records and these areas rarely have street names – making it near impossible for aid workers to identify affected areas.

    This is where the app helps once again, by identifying affected cluster areas, while digitally monitoring the movements of the aid workers.

    The app also assists NGO‘s in the care of orphaned or abandoned children by monitoring them under the 21-day quarantine period.

    While the development of the Ebola Care app is a priceless tool for aid workers, they still need our help. Journey funded the development of the app, but now they need financial help from everyone around the globe to get smartphones deployed to the aid workers.

    Their goal is to get 1000 phones with the Ebola Care app deployed in West Africa. In order to that, they need to raise money to buy the phones.

    It‘s always heartwarming to see people reach out to those in need, especially in such a specialized way. Journey, we salute you!

    If you would like to make a contribution to this great cause, visit www.appsagainstebola.org

    Listen in to our latest podcast!

    • Philip Joubert

      Thanks so much for your support, Julia! If anyone would like to know something about the project, just ask in the comments 🙂

    • Jordan 23 Sizwe

      Well done SA out of all the negatives of this country there is still something positive after all, the Joubert brothers made us(me) proud, and if I was working I would contribute unfortunately am still a teen leaving with his parents and studying, but in anyway I could help if I was ever approached

      • Philip Joubert

        Thank you for your kind words, Jordan!

    • Julia

      Thank YOU, Philip! Such a great initiative – was happy I could support you on this platform. Best of luck for everything going ahead!

    • Sithu Lloyd Dube

      Coming from a guy who once said he loved AIDS in South Africa (as it was exterminating black people), this is a marked change.

      • Philip Joubert

        I think you might be confusing people, Sithu. We’ve have been involved with mobile health projects since 2009 and have never made comments like that.