On March 11th, 2022, the Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum (UYAHF) held an orientation meeting for the Pulaniki mobile app with several stakeholders to build their technical capacity on how to use the app, the app functions and also seek their feedback on how to improve it at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
The Pulani-ki Mobile App is a game-changing innovation that seeks to address key barriers to access, break the social stigma and widen access to essential sexual reproductive health, HIV, maternal, newborn, and child health commodities and services in Uganda.
The meeting brought together over 30 participants, including pharmacy operators, health facility and specialized clinic representatives, CSOs working on promoting health, and ministry of health representatives, among others.
Mr. Patrick Mwesigye, the team leader of UYAHF, while giving a presentation about the Mobile App (Pulaniki), revealed that, when fully launched and operational, the App will be accessible on both the Google Play Store and the Apple Store.
“The app will be on the Google Play Store and the App Store. Anyone with it on his or her phone from their own comfort will be able to access sexual reproductive health information and services, book appointments for medical services like antenatal care, order products and have them delivered to them, and also get entertainment news and updates through the news and entertainment portal embedded in the app, “added Patrick.
He further explained that they will recruit agents from pharmacies, clinics, and specialized doctors who will provide the services and products with the aid of the app.
Responding to a question raised by Mr. Henry Titus Kayondo, a pharmacy proprietor, on how to become an agent, Patrick informed the stakeholders that they will first need to apply to be registered on the platform. A background check will then be conducted on them with the help of the various national regulatory bodies, including the National Drug Authority, the Ministry of health, and others, to see eligibility and ensure compliance.
“Before you become an agent, among the key things we shall look at are your personal medical qualifications, operational licenses or certificates, work permit, location, and stock evaluation, including expiry dates, and approved medical products,” he emphasized.
Some of the other key questions raised by the participants during the meeting include; stock checks with agents, price determination of products or services, product delivery modes, and transportation.
Mr. Tusiime Samuel, one of the technical people and support developers, while responding to the issues of stock availability, explained that the app will automatically keep updating the level of stock availability of each agent. He added that, if a given agent does not have the product in stock, the client will be notified and asked to try checking with another agent.
While Patrick noted that pharmacies or agents will determine their own prices as long as they are in line with market prices.
“I want us to be clear on this. We are not going to set prices for agents; our role is to create a platform for easy access. We believe that you have already been operating and have your current price. “At the very least, it should be based on pre-existing market prices to avoid price exploitation,” he stated.
At the close of the meeting, the stakeholders were excited about the innovation and noted that this initiative would be a game-changer in the health sector business for most of them.
“This is something that is new to us but so lucrative. This mobile app is a real deal, not only business-wise but also in promoting health rights and privacy of individuals while accessing certain health services and products, especially those that are quite hard to pick up physically from facilities, ” expressed Ms. Fortunate Niwamanya, a pharmacy operator in Kisaasi, one of the suburbs of Kampala
They pledged to fully jump on board and register as agents and make full use of the pulani-ki app as soon as it is launched.