By Paul Ndiho
Ugandan app developers have created a mobile-based service called BVKIT that helps diagnose vaginal Infections. Although it is still in trial stages, the BVKIT application is already receiving mixed reviews.
A group of five female university students at Makerere University in Kampala Uganda has come up with an application dubbed “Her Health BVKIT” that they say helps early diagnosis of vaginal infections.
Nanyombi Margaret is one of the developers of the mobile based application. She says the BVKIT tests specifically for the most common vaginal infections women face.
“Bacterial vaginosis can stay in your body for a very long time. The causes are not known, but some people say its caused showering with different perfumed soaps, having so many sexual partners, having unprotected sex, sharing public toilets people have different infections..”
Like a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis is linked to an imbalance of “good” and “harmful” bacteria in a woman’s vagina. The U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control says bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in females age 15 to 44. Margaret and her team say early detection of infections goes a long way in treating the disease.
“We put possible signs and symptoms, common infection signs and symptoms that affect women’s reproductive health. Then if you find the application will give you home remedies on how to continue being healthy at home. If you have a mild infection, it will show you possible signs and symptoms, if your results are severe, a map will show up showing where the nearest doctor is so that you can get tested.”
According to experts, bacterial vaginosis is not considered a sexually transmitted disease or STD, but having BV can increase your chances of getting an STD. BV rarely affects women who have never had sex, and you cannot get BV from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools. Margaret explains how the APP works
“What a women does, if you have the hardware and the software, the software is free for download then the hardware is for purchase. You collect a urine sample in a clean pee cup then you put the device in the urine sample and then the hardware is going to pick up values and then sent to the phone application. The phone application will process and then a diagnosis where it tells a person pH.”
Besides early diagnosis, the application is also helping health care providers look for signs of bacterial vaginosis and perform laboratory tests on a sample of vaginal fluid to determine if BV is present
“A women can check herself every two weeks, in the long run so that the women is not affected by miscarriages. Many women don’t like talking about their reproductive health they like to keep this information private; women wait until it is so sad that is when the women get attention to go to the doctor.
Experts say that bacterial vaginosis will sometimes go away without treatment. But if you have BV symptoms, you should be checked and treated as soon as possible. It is important that you take all of the medicine that your doctor prescribes for you — even if your symptoms go away. Some medical professionals question the viability and reliability of such apps. But BV KIT developers advise their users that consultation with a doctor must follow diagnosis generated from the application.