The social stigma around HIV/AIDS has limited dignified access of marginalized communities in developing nations to clinics providing sexual diagnosis due to a lack of privacy and social instability. Those who are affected die in their most productive years, leaving the economy of a nation stagnant and never receiving the opportunity to unleash their potential.

What it does`

The platform allows users to make appointments with the right clinics for sexual diagnosis via SMS for discretion, while simultaneously aiding partnered clinics to be more data-driven. It helps doctors increase the level of care they provide to patients, and to improve their outreach program.

How we built it

We set up the Twilio API to send and receive text through Twilio to a phone number. Then, we built a server using Heroku and a database using Firebase.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into many challenges. Our team comprised of mainly beginners with no previous coding experience. All of the challenges came from back-end development. About two hours before submission deadline, our server crashed and we had many issues with the database. We also had challenges with python compatibility with different third party libraries.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The majority of the group is proud of making it to our first ever hackathon, and learning how to code for our purposes of the product. In particular, we are proud of the work the front end developers have done by creating a website with their minimum coding experience in HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript. The back end developers are proud to have worked and explored various APIs such as Twilio, Firebase and Google Natural Language API.

What we learned

We have learned that whenever we start any hack we should build a minimum viable product, and then see different ways to incorporate different APIs and their functionalities, instead of starting off that way which could leave us with an incomplete product. After all, we have learned that coding is about persistence because even though our server crashed, we still continue trying to solve the issue before submission deadline.

What's next for Cumasu

The plan for Cumasu in the coming months is to continue developing the mobile platform to be as accessible as possible through SMS for rural parts of developing nations. We are aiming to incorporate a calendar system to the platform alongside a natural language API to help users to determine appointments with practitioners. Next, we will be looking into the opportunities of utilizing blockchain technology for medical record keeping of each patient. We are planned to be on the ground in Kampala, Uganda in January 2018 to start our first pilot run for the next 9 months to work with both clinics, and potential users to do fast prototyping to understand how we can improve the user experience on both ends.

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