As a Filipino-American immigrant, I'm no stranger to hearing the daily news of two distinct worlds - news for New Yorkers and Philippine citizens. For the past few months, I've witnessed my parents converse worriedly - amongst one another and with relatives back home - about the ongoing disastrous vaccination efforts in the Philippines. Simultaneously, I see fellow New Yorkers on the news - mask-free outdoors and gathering with one another.

Unlike America and other countries, where mask mandates are lifting, and daily life is returning to normal, the Philippines is still struggling. It is among the Asian countries most affected by Covid-19 (with a record of more than 1.65 million cases) yet has one of the lowest vaccination rates (9.9%). Current vaccination efforts fail to assure and encourage Filipinos, who lack trust in vaccines due to a prior disastrous vaccine effort for the Dengue Fever. Meanwhile, the few individuals willing to get vaccinated (mostly from younger populations) are unable to due to a lack of resources, confusion about where vaccination centers are, and a slow rollout.

Inspired by the distinctly differing living conditions of Americans and Filipinos a year after Covid and prompted by my belief in equal access and opportunities for all, I developed PH7 to educate and aid the Philippines. PH7 serves as a helpful and impactful tool in empowering the Filipino population and possibly the masses of surrounding Asian countries!

App Name

  • The name "PH7" is a play on the chemistry term pH, in which a scale of 7 suggests neutrality. The term indicates that a pH is neither "basic" nor "acidic" and is synonymous with being "normal." Because the initials of the Philippines are PH, I included the number 7 to suggest the app works toward making the lives of Filipinos "normal" once more.

What it does

  • Allows users to create a vaccination card based on input!
  • Pinpoints nearby vaccine centers based on user location
  • Provides verified statistical data on Covid cases and vaccine rates
  • Implements a live question-answer feature for vaccine-related questions
  • Provides deals to restaurants and shops for vaccinated users
  • Inspires users to get vaccinated by showing vaccinated celebrities and influencers

How I built it

  • XCode
  • Swift
  • Github
  • Canva

Challenges I ran into

  • Working with XCode, in general, was very time-consuming. As a beginner mobile app developer, it took lots of research and time to figure out how to navigate XCode and best format my code. I referred to the official Apple Documentation website and search/help feature XCode numerous times to solve the most trivial issues.
  • The live question-answer feature! Apple's Official "Intro to App Development With Swift" handbook inspired me to create a QuestionBot-like answering program. However, because my XCode is newer, much of the follow-along code no longer worked and had to be revised.
  • The navigation card! It took over a day to work out how to access data from a different view controller. In the end, I was able to successfully recall information from a separate view controller onto my pop-up screen, and I am pretty proud of myself for that!

Accomplishments that I am proud of

  • The graphics, colors, and general aesthetic. I used red, yellow, and blue color schemes on all pages to replicate the Philippine flag and added related graphics, including hands holding the Philippines flag, Filipinos/Filipinas, and other festive designs!
  • The navigation. I implemented a bottom navigation bar that exists in many popular apps like Instagram and Tiktok. It helps users move smoothly from one page to the other without having to use back buttons.
  • Geocoding! I was able to have the app request the user to access their location - such a tool is helpful for when users are searching for nearby vaccination centers.

What I learned

  • Beyond learning how to navigate XCode better, I learned a lot about the Philippines. I spent many hours researching the country's current vaccination efforts, read verified journals on why Filipinos are hesitant about the vaccine and watched news reports. I was shocked at what I read and watched - in one instance, I read that the Philippines had the 2nd highest Covid cases in Asia, and that was something I honestly did not know!
  • I became more familiar with XCode's technical features and Swift documentation.

What is next for PH7 - Empowerment through Vaccination

  • Diversify location. I hope to broaden the map to at least ⅓ of the Philippines, especially areas hit the hardest by Covid-19.
  • Make the VaxxBot more interactive and able to answer the user's questions.
  • I would love for the pop-up to be a legitimate vaccination card users can digitally keep. The card will contain direct information from the user profile.
  • Advice page for users. How to maintain mental and physical health while staying indoors? How to care for sick family members?
  • Language/translation feature. To truly make the app applicable to the Philippines and potentially other Asian countries, I aim to develop a language feature that translates English to different languages.

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