Meet Makerere University students that have developed an app that checks for bacterial vaginosis


The Team Code Gurus from Uganda will amaze you. These incredible ladies; Nanyombi Margaret Pearl, Ndagire Esther, Nairuba Pauline, and Namanda Kaweesi Jackeline all from the College of Information Computer Technology at Makerere University have developed an app that tests for Bacterial Vaginosis using both hardware and software. The hardware connects to the software using Bluetooth to tell whether women have healthy vaginal bacteria as explained in the Her Health BV video Normally, there are a lot of “good” bacteria and some “bad” bacteria in the vagina. The good types help control the growth of the bad types. In women with bacterial vaginosis, the balance is upset. There are not enough good bacteria and too many bad bacteria. Usually, a mild problem may go away on its own in a few days. However, it can lead to more serious problems if untreated. Problems such as cause cervical cancer, Pelvic inflammatory disease, and if BV isn’t treated can lead to miscarriages in pregnant women. Work on the BVapp started in January 2015, with research from doctors in various hospitals such as Nsambya hospital and Mayo clinic. The doctors were helpful but carrying our research on BV presented a challenge they had not anticipated. “this was one of the hardest stages. Collecting information on BV as not many women are ready to disclose that they have BV.” Says Maggie. Pauline sights their close friendship as their biggest pillar. ‘Giving up would be letting everybody down, she says. That keeps them focused and determined to achieve their joint dream of reducing the prevalence of Bacterial Vaginosis and further ailments that result from untreated BV. Their initial inspiration to take on this project came in form of a Bacterial Vaginosis self-test strip that comes with a particular brand of sanitary towels (Shuya pads). They developed a desire to find an easier way, a quicker way through which women of all ages could test themselves for bacterial vaginosis. Unlike many other 22-year-olds, they live their lives with passion, determination, and desire to achieve this dream. A dream, once achieved will change the lives of many Ugandan women. The application that is now available in the Windows store functions with both software and hardware and can be used in these four easy steps STEP 1 Collect a urine sample or vaginal fluid in a cup STEP 2 Put the adrenal stick in the sample STEP 3 Wait 3 seconds to view your results. STEP 4 If the values are between 4.5 and 7, you are healthy and the app goes on to show you how to stay healthy. If the results fall are between 4.7 and above 7.0, you are not so healthy and ways on how to boost health are given. If it is 7.5, the app shows you have bacterial vaginosis. The app provides information on how to get healthy and to find a doctor showing the locations of doctors in that vicinity. ph sensor As with any change tool, the girls have faced a number of challenges the biggest being shortage of financing to acquire the hardware used to operate this app. Once the issue of financing has been addressed, they hope to make this BV app available to every woman in Uganda through clinics, health centers and NGOs ready to help them increase the reach of this app to women all over the country.