Kenya set use mobile app to reduce rising obesity
Mobile app: SIMWAY has been introduced by Kenya’s department of health, in collaboration with three Japanese companies to tackle obesity in Kenya. With the app, the department intends to reduce rising obesity in Naivasha Sub-County, Kenya. The Japanese companies are a public health company called Cancer Scan, a marketing research and consulting firm AfricaScan and research company Campus for H.
According to the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) Kenya 2014, more than 40% of women in their 30s and 40s are either overweight or obese. Techweez has reported that approximately 1.8 million people in Kenya are said to be obese, representing 5% of the total population.
Through SIMWAY, local community health volunteers will become weight management planners, supporters and consultants by developing fully personalised weight loss plans within the app. Health volunteers will work hand-in-hand with SIMWAY to help track clients’ weight loss progress. Users are required to update their behaviours in real time and also keep a close communication with the health volunteers.
Through SIMWAY’s messaging function, health volunteers can communicate with clients after reviewing their behaviours to keep monitoring their progress; this allows users to monitor their own behaviour. Using a mathematical algorithm to calculate an individual’s energy consumption level, SIMWAY can formulate an intake target for a given weight reduction goal. This creates an entirely personalised weight reduction and maintenance plan for users.
SIMWAY will also provide users with accurate calculations of their kilocalorie (kcal) intake reduction goals and track their daily behaviours and also make it easy to receive related answers to health questions.
“SIMWAY recommends weight reduction behaviour goals which achieve your personal calorie reduction target, for instance, ‘reduce half a plate of ugali per day.’ Recommendations for behavioural goals are designed consistent with [the] current lifestyle of [a] Kenyan,” says Kasumi Sawada, MD of AfricaScan
SIMWAY is still on a two-year trial period, although available on the google play store, it is only available for community health volunteers in Naivasha sub-county. It will be available for the rest of Kenya after it has been revised.
“It has just been introduced and yet to see real feedback, but so far responses are good since a person can get personalised weight reduction plan and choose target behaviours from the options which are totally customised for Kenyans,” says Sawada.