New Kenyan App ‘Wazi’ Is A Therapist In Your Hand


Official knowledge in Kenya exhibits that the variety of folks with psychological well being diseases has risen exponentially. However extra fascinating than that’s there aren’t ample medical personnel to correctly take care of the problem. Wazi is a brand new software that wishes to alter that and assist sort out psychological well being utilizing expertise. 

Psychological Well being in Kenya 

A overview of the Well being ministry data by the workplace of the Auditor-Basic (OAG) confirmed that as of 2015 there have been solely 92 psychiatrists within the nation as an alternative of 1533 required. Equally, there have been 327 psychiatrist nurses as an alternative of 7666. Because of this there is just one psychologist for each four.6 million Kenyans. This can be a surprising quantity making an allowance for the really helpful quantity is one psychologist for each 15 000 folks. 

The OAG said in a report launched in 2018 that: “Going by the estimated inhabitants of 46 million in 2017, the present staffing for the completely different professionals thus drastically falls wanting the perfect ratio.” Most of the hospitals within the nation usually are not geared up to offer psychological well being providers to sufferers. There’s a lack of specialized psychological healthcare in Kenya. Paperwork and monetary burdens are simply a few of the the reason why hospitals can’t perform their duties. 

One other big downside round psychological well being in Kenya is the massive stigma hooked up to it. Folks simply don’t wish to get assist as a result of they concern the response of these round them. Based mostly in Nairobi author and journalist Dannish Odongo wrote about how troublesome it’s to get assist with psychological well being points. He stated “Extra must be carried out to create consciousness about psychological well being and its financial value. Additionally, there’s a want for a right away activity pressure to gather knowledge about psychological well being in Kenya to advise coverage selections.”

It’s these big issues that the Wazi app goals to sort out. 

Improvement of the app 

Alex Royea and David Henia are the founders of the app. Wazi is a Swahili app which implies open. They began the applying after realising the massive downside that exists in Kenya round psychological well being and wished to “open” up the conversations. Royea spoke to The Each day Vox from Nairobi concerning the app.  

David Henia and Alex Royea

Royea says he moved to Nairobi about three years in the past to work with an web startup. The primary individual he met was Henia. He labored a number of different jobs earlier than forming the corporate with Henia. The pair bought talking concerning the problem of psychological well being and in October 2018, the app was launched. 

Royea says Wazi could be described as a “digital psychological well being platform”. The app at the moment has 500 customers with a complete of 90 volunteers. Because it’s launch a complete of 9800 messages have been exchanged between the customers and the therapists. 

How does it work?

The app which could be discovered on Fb Messenger and Telegram works by way of chatbots. Royea says they used Fb Messenger and Telegram as these have been straightforward entry factors for folks to entry. Folks can log onto the app with a username. This Royea says is to make sure that individuals are allowed to stay nameless. As soon as they’ve signed up, the individual could have entry to a volunteer community in addition to an expert community of therapists. 

The skilled community of therapists is utilised as they’ve a protocol to take care of any points dealing with individuals who use the app. 

Royea says folks utilizing the app will fill out their info and what want they assist. This makes it simpler for an applicable therapist to be put in contact with. The app additionally options many of the languages spoken in Kenya making it language-accessible.  

To make use of the app, folks pay utilizing cellular cash which is one thing that’s generally utilized in Kenya. Royea says they cost a value that’s fairly inexpensive for folks. 

Enlargement plans 

Royea says he and Henia undoubtedly have plans to broaden the app. An space of growth Royea says they’re is learn how to make the app extra accessible to extra folks. This consists of voice-overs in order that the app may very well be utilized by folks with disabilities. 

He says additionally they wish to type out any on the problems they’ve had with the app. This consists of technical challenges and a lack of understanding in Kenya. 

The pair additionally wish to begin increasing it in East Africa after which transfer the app internationally. For now, he says they’re comfortable that the app helps start-up conversations in Kenya round psychological well being and the stigma hooked up to it. 

Featured picture supplied by Wazi.