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University of Iowa professor starts non-profit healthcare app

A local professor is trying to help his native country with a non-profit company. (Photo: KGAN)
A local professor is trying to help his native country with a non-profit company. (Photo: KGAN)
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Twenty three hundred.

That's how many kids under the age of five die everyday in Dr. Azeez Butali's motherland of Nigeria. Butali currently works as an assistant professor at the University of Iowa's College of Dentistry.

He wants to keep them alive and thriving, which is why he and a team of doctors started the non-profit company Healthcare Trends.

It's an app that will send automated text messages and phone calls to mothers from doctors, reminding them of immunizations, checkups and follow-up visits.

"Half of the kids that die, this is the result of malnutrition," Butali said.

Butali said the app is meant to help improve communication between mothers and doctors. It holds patient data, tracking all health details.

"Research has shown that mothers go for immunizations if they have reminders to remind them," Dr. Osayame Ekhaguere, another doctor on the Healthcare Trends team, said.

Butali said too often, mothers are struggling to survive everyday. Keeping a family alive requires extra work, and duties like doctors visits simply slip the mind.

But some would wonder, how do families use technology, especially in a developing country?

"Surprisingly, 95 percent of adults in Nigeria have a mobile phone, so that was the catch," Butali said.

Butali and his team started a campaign, called "Help My Pikin"so they can raise money for the app. Their goal is $10,000 right now, and he hopes they can raise even more so the app can stretch globally. He says every dollar that's donated can help two children.

"Our goal is to improve survivors," Butali said. "Reduce infant mortality by improving communication."

After implementing it more in Nigeria, he wants it to spread to other developing countries in Africa, as well as Asia and South America.

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You can learn more about the fundraising campaign here.

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