I recently came across an article that tells the story of John: a farmer in Uganda living with HIV. John manages to take his Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) medication at almost the exact same time every day by his electronic pill dispenser and listening to two radio programs that start and end at the same time every day.
It is an incredible story, considering he has no watch to tell the time, but not everyone adheres to their medication like John. It is common knowledge that Africa has a high percentage of people living with HIV and AIDS. It is no longer a death sentence, but rather a chronic condition that can be managed if – and only if – people take their ART medications at the same time every single day. The same can be said for other diseases affecting millions of Africans across the continent, such as Tuberculosis (TB), Malaria, and Diabetes. These are all conditions that can be treated effectively if patients take their medication responsibly and effectively.
Sadly, patient adherence to medication is a huge problem in Africa – and this is largely due to a number of challenging socioeconomic factors. Medication simply cannot help patients if it is not taken correctly.
However, there is a solution to this problem of medication adherence. Recent statistics show that there has been a 45% increase in the number of smartphones being bought in Africa – largely thanks to Chinese smartphone brands selling their phones at affordable prices.
There is an app on the market called MyTherapy, which is available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. This app is specifically targeted at helping people adhere to their medication regimens and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The app is very easy to use and comes with a variety of features that will help users manage their illness, prevent relapses, and lead better lifestyles. Users simply need to enter their medication in the app and choose a time when they want to take their tablets. The app will then remind users to take their medications (via an alarm) until they do so by clicking the ‘confirm’ button.
Furthermore, users can track their symptoms and measurements (such as blood pressure, weight, temperature etc.) and set daily exercise goals. The app currently has over 500 000 users and the MyTherapy team continues to work hard to improve upon its features so that users can get the best out of their medication regimens. Furthermore, users can invite friends and family on the app, so that they can help, support, and encourage the user to take their medication. Doctors also benefit from the app, as users are given a monthly report of their logged data, which they can then give to their doctor.
Importantly, the app is completely free and does not make any money off of its users. There are no hidden costs, in-app purchases, or annoying adverts. MyTherapy is committed to helping people get and feel better, which ultimately benefits the economy too. A healthier nation means less burden on healthcare systems, so that money can be channelled to other important challenges Africa faces.
People need and deserve to lead healthy lifestyles – and MyTherapy is the app to do that.