African Influencers For Development 

Babusi Nyoni

AI-powered health chatbot by Sila Health

Sis Joyce, an AI powered chatbot, is the brainchild of Babusi Nyoni, a 32-year-old Zimbabwean design-strategist and innovator and Head of Product at Sila Health.

It is a widely known fact that for many Zimbabweans, accessing basic health care can be a huge struggle. And for key players in the healthcare ecosystem, the lack of real-time data insights needed to contain the spread of disease outbreaks pose an even bigger challenge.

Sis Joyce, enables lower to middle income class individuals with very limited access to healthcare and internet to instantly obtain health advice that can help them significantly improve their health. If the automated interaction proves insufficient a user can make an appointment with one a Sila Health volunteer doctors or nurse staff via phone. The services require very little Internet data, therefore are accessible to a large target group.

Combating COVID-19

After noticing that there weren’t enough coronavirus test centres in Zimbabwe, a COVID-19 module was integrated into the chatbot to help people check any COVID-19 related symptoms they might be experiencing. This helps keep low-risk patients from clogging up local hospitals and testing centres.  Users can interact with the chatbot via Facebook chat, WhatsApp and SMS. During a session a user can answer questions then get a response from the AI powered bot, on whether they should seek to see a doctor, or self-quarantine while monitoring themselves.

However, the bot makes it clear that it is not a replacement for a doctor. A derivative of the chatbot is a data product called Sila Trends, which enables the Zimbabwean government and local NGOs to obtain real-time data on reported symptoms in the areas they preside over.
Sila health is also working with Bulawayo to co-create a series of tools optimised for a national and municipal-level COVID-19 response.

Babusi works in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and big data innovation with a focus on developing solutions for Sub-Saharan African communities. He has always aimed at offering practical skills  which drive meaningful innovation, in areas where scale and impact are hindered by structural limitations. In addition to running Sila health, Babusi is also an innovation consultant with UNHCR where he drives innovation to assist and protect millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced and stateless people.

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