Two SA medical students developed an app to help ensure patients take pills regularly


Two medical students from Kwazulu-Natal submitted a cell phone application to the World Health Organization to help ensure patients take pills regularly, KZN University said on Sunday.

“They have developed an innovative approach using cellphone-based technology to send automatic alerts/reminders via text messages (SMS) to patients to take their medication on time.” “To date, there has been no technical intervention specifically addressing poor patient compliance with antimicrobials.” Students, Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were chosen as one of 10 finalists.

The WHO and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health had received a total of 163 proposals from 40 countries.

The competition looked for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) solutions.

“When bacteria gain the ability to resist the medicines used to treat them, we risk returning to a time when simple infections may become untreatable,” the university explained.

“Due to the growing global threat of AMR by 2050, 10 million lives could be lost.” Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman created an application designed to help ensure that patients take drugs regularly. (UKZN)

Patient non-compliance is one of the main causes of AMR in developing countries.  This is when the patient either forgets or does not intentionally take the necessary medication, particularly when the symptoms of disease seem to get better.

As a result, the bacteria then multiply, leading to resistance spread.  Then the medication fails and the patients get sicker or even die.

Narain and Suleman attended a workshop in Geneva, Switzerland where they were able to explore further refinements of their ideas and create capacity for their implementation.

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman, concentrating on sub-Saharan Africa, plan to implement their concept in low-and middle-income countries. (UKZN) The software they built would be adjusted to suit each patient’s specific needs.

Students are now planning to implement their research in low-and middle-income countries with an emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa.

“Innovative, feasible and sustainable approaches with the attitude of’ thinking global, acting local’ are important for combating AMR and preventing an age of superbugs in resource-limited settings such as sub-Saharan Africa,” a fifth-year medical student, Narain said.