Rheumatic fever app targets Samoan communities

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

An app aimed at minimising the staggering amount children affected by rheumatic fever is now available in the Samoan Language. The app was developed after an English and Reo Māori version was launched last year. Its huge success has triggered a demand to develop it further to incorporate other languages.

The beat.fever project is a collaboration between Kiwa Digital and managed by the National Hauora Coalition (NHC) who led the rheumatic fever prevention programme for Counties Manukau Health.

Dr David Jansen says, spokesperson for NHC says, “This app was created as part of a wider focus to decrease the number of people being affected by rheumatic fever.”

It is an interactive youth-built app created by a group of South Auckland rangatahi that sends out a positive message about beating rheumatic fever in their community.

Steven Renata, CEO of Kiwa Digital, says, “It has all the medical messages and precautions you'd expect but what we tried to do with this was let the tamariki the children tell the story in their words.”

David Jansen maintains that while the number of rheumatic fever occurrences has dropped amongst Māori, incidents remain high within Pacific Island communities. Due to this, the app is now available in Samoan.

He says, “There are ongoing discussions between us and Pacific Islanders so that these narratives about rheumatic fever can reach them.”

This app is one tool that helps the greater issue and a big part of that is education.

Steven Renata says, “We know from our experience in the digital world is having content delivered in a way that's engaging is where you actually start to get a deeper education and transformational behaviour.”

The app has had thousands of downloads and KIWA expects to develop it in other Pacific Island languages over the coming year.