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Kenyan team wins $5000 IBM and David Clark Cause’s Call for Code Challenge


A  team of developers from Kenya are the winners of IBM and David Clark Cause’s 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge. The team emerged the Middle East and Africa regional winners for designing the Mbali Health application that connects patients to care providers in a socially distanced way.

Mbali Health will be awarded a total of $5000 which will go towards future development and deployment of the application. The team aims to include the transmission of voice and images. They will also receive support from IBM’s technical experts.

As the winner, Mbali Health also joins Call for Code’s ecosystem, which unites the world’s millions of developers and data scientists to unleash the power of cloud, AI, blockchain, and IoT technologies to solve pressing global problems with sustainable and scalable open source-powered technologies.

“We are honoured to have been part of the Call for Code challenge. During this pandemic, we saw the struggle that the patients and clinics were facing and sought to develop a solution. To emerge as the winners in this region is not only humbling but also pushes us to continue creating innovative solutions for the health sector; an area we are very passionate about.” Sam Wilks said, while speaking on behalf of Mbali Health.

With the COVID-19 pandemic actively spreading among citizens and with countries facing increased lockdown procedures, it was increasingly difficult for patients to gain access to medical care in a safe and socially distanced manner. Through the Call for Code Challenge, the developers of Mbali Health created a solution for Kenyans powered and secured by IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Virtual Servers and Hyper Protect DBaas with MongoDB, a simple chat interface that gives the patients easy access to healthcare providers through WhatsApp. With over 90% mobile penetration, the easy to use application is effortlessly accessible to a large population of Kenyans allowing for them to interact and receive diagnosis from physicians from the comfort of their homes.

The 2020 Call for Code challenge brought together developers, startups, and enterprise developers to create solutions to address the world’s current COVID-19 pandemic in addition to climate change; two pressing issues that have the power to compromise our health, our planet, and our survival.

Now in its third year, the Call for Code global competition has generated more than fifteen thousand solutions built using a combination of open source-powered products and technologies, including Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud, IBM Watson, IBM Blockchain, data from The Weather Company, and APIs from ecosystem partners like HERE Technologies and IntelePeer.

Since its launch in 2018, this movement has grown to more than 400,000 developers and problem solvers across 179 nations, reflecting the reality that challenges like climate change and COVID-19 demand solutions that work on the local level, but also have the ability to scale and help any community, anywhere.

“At IBM, we do our best to apply data, knowledge, computing power, and insights to solve difficult problems. The regional winners, Mbali Health, have embodied the Call for Code Challenge to have developers ambitiously tackle the pressing issues we are currently facing during this pandemic using the power of Cloud, Digital, AI, blockchain, and IoT,” said Caroline Mukiira Country General Manager – East Africa.

In addition to the winning team, the Call for Code Challenge had regional finalists from other African countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, and Nigeria tackling education, health, and climate change.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I write about tech, business and African startups. Founder and Editor For TechTrendsKE. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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