Health App for Youth in Rwanda

Tantine is an app that has been developed for youth in Rwanda. It was created by Sylvie and Sylvain Muzungu Uhirwa to tackle the issue of lack of reproductive and sexual health information. A barrier to sexual and reproductive health information has teens in Rwanda vulnerable to unintended pregnancies and diseases, which can hinder their ability to complete their education as well as find stable employment in the future.

Sylvie and Sylvain Uhirwa are twin medical students at the University of Rwanda who originally won the Youth Spark Innovation Grant in 2015. This grant is an initiative from the Resilient Africa Network in Partnership with USAID and the Makerere University School. It has helped them to build a website containing reproductive health information as well as youth mentorship opportunities.

As one of four initiatives chosen at the iAccelerator challenge 2017, the pair received $10,000 to further develop Tantine. Half of the funds went to developing the Android app and website content, as well as to continue to advance and develop the platform.

The app was recently shared in the Mahama camp of 50,000 Burundian refugees. The app for youth in Rwanda, specifically in the camp, gives reproductive health information via the web. Tantine works with a medical professional and psychological team to deliver this education, mentorship and counseling services.

Sylvie has stated that members in the camp do not have consistent access to wi-fi and do not own smartphones, so “…that’s why we thought of bringing those tablets and establishing a centre where they come and then access the internet in the camp. So we are going to equip them with those tablets and then a router with wi-fi.”

Therese Karugwiza, a gender and human rights program specialist at UNFPA, has stressed the importance of Tantine also targeting youth who may not be in school, as it is crucial that they also have access to this information. By taking Karugwiza’s account into consideration, the Uhirwa twins are putting Rwandan youth on a multimodal track to better reproductive health.

Gabriella Paez

Photo: Flickr