Pushing Boundaries with Digitally Supported Self-care in Kenya

“Part of our core values is curiosity. You can only succeed in business if you’re solving the challenges of your client and not coming with your ready-made solutions. But do this with curiosity!” - Dr. Musaed Abrahams, CEO Aviro Health

In October, Aviro Health CEO, Dr. Musaed Abrahams visited Kenya to gain insight. This trip was meant for Aviro Health to connect with its partner, Population Services  Kenya (PS Kenya). PS Kenya is groundbreaker in HIV self-testing. As a leader in social and behaviour change, with a mission to improve the health of Kenyans, PS Kenya promotes functional systems and increased access to quality health solutions. 

“One of the impressions that I had was that PS Kenya is a really good partner because they keep on pushing the boundary.” Dr. Musaed said this because about a year ago, Aviro Health and PS Kenya started their  relationship and since then, they have had no regrets. The partnership started with Aviro Health presenting the Aviro Pocket Clinic, which is a digital product that allows users to report their HIV results after testing. The Aviro Pocket Clinic is an automated Chatbot  application system that functions via WhatsApp. The Chatbot  optimises patient onboarding, counselling, and testing. 

Community Healthcare Workers show peole the Aviro Pocket CLinic Chatbot

The first meeting that Dr. Musaed had with PS Kenya was to discover what their prospects are [for the project]. Much of the discussion centred on how the two organisations can work together to get people who want to test to trust the Chatbot . Trust was a key theme in the discussion because PS Kenya is working towards increasing testing among  men. Generally, HIV is stigmatised and many men in Kenya value their confidentiality. This point became a great platform for Aviro Health to reiterate that the Pocket Clinic empowers users with easily accessible HIV-related information, testing, and linkage to prevention services right in the privacy of their homes. So , it became easy for the two organisations to brainstorm on how they can communicate to the potential user that the Aviro Pocket Clinic is indeed trustworthy.

For the PS Kenya project, interpersonal communication was instrumental in encouraging men to know their HIV status. However, these community outreaches were done in overpopulated areas that proved to be dangerous for the PS Kenya team that was walking around with data capturing tablets in their possession. With this observation, Dr. Musaed learned that designing with safety in mind is most important . Many Kenyan men were willing to do self-testing in public and having that process interfered with  because of safety would’ve been harmful  to the project. Connecting people to prevention services and post-infection support is an urgent matter. 

Edward  Musau, Loreen Wafula, Musaed Abrahams, Brandwell Muiru, Ruth Kamau and John Mungai

Whilst in Kenya, Dr Musaed also had the opportunity to visit local pharmacy distributors to gain insights into clients buying HIV self-test kits. The discussion showed that mostly individuals who were planning on having sexual relationships were purchasing self-test kits showing that there is a need for easy access to prevention services in Kenya. The Aviro Pocket Clinic Chatbot has a wide selection of prevention information and access to prevention services in Kenya.

The future for Aviro Health in Kenya is promising. The need for the whatsapp chatbot is clear, with more information for prevention services, such as PrEP as well as making sure we connect with the users to understand their HIV self-testing journey and Aviro and PS Kenya are ensuring that they help Kenyans get easy access to great quality care.

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