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YouCare! App is a One Stop Center that connects young people to comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health information, guidance and care.

Photo of Patricia Chiumia Chihana
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YouCare! App aims at reducing barriers to accessing SRH information and services by providing a platform where young people aged between 10 and 24 can access instant professional advice and be directed to specific referral sites to meet their diverse needs. It seeks to bring forth a comprehensive and harmonized One Stop Care Centre and decision support system for the young people that will help overcome unncessary delays to accessing quality care at the same time accelerate awareness of the services and influence service quality improvement. 

The application will be available for free in Chichewa (National language) and English (Official language). To reach as many young people as possible the application will be available both online and offline (unstructured supplementary service data (USSD)).


The content on the App will include SRH topics and other relevant topics that influence the field. Users will be directed in respect to the options they choose (sex, age, location and topic). The topics will include;

• STIs
• Family planning including condoms
• Reproductive health cancers, including human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine
• Psychosocial support
• Substance abuse
• Nutrition
• HIV and AIDS
• Sexual abuse
• Maternal healthcare
• Adolescent growth and development

After perusing through the content, the user will be asked to give feedback on whether they are satisfied with the advice/guidance given or not. This will result in three outcomes and actions;

Users that are satisfied - Directed to give feedback on the experience

Users that are satisfied but needs products or services - Referred to specific service delivery areas in respect to their location, age, convenient time, needs and what they can afford.

Users that are not satisfied with the content - Connected to a health care provider through a chat for those using the online platform and a helpline for those using the offline platform.


This option will be available for those that feel that the issue they are facing is not among the listed topics or they need further guidance on the topic they selected (dissatisfied with the content in the app). Those using an online platform will be connected to the qualified SRH/YFHS providers through a chat while those using an offline platform will be connected using a helpline. This will equally result in three outcomes and actions;

Users that are satisfied with the interaction - Directed to give feedback on the experience

Users that are satisfied but needs products or services - Referred to specific service delivery areas in respect to their location, age, convenient time, needs and what they can afford.

Users that are not satisfied with the content – Referred to specific service delivery areas in respect to their location, age, convenient time, needs and what they can afford.


Young people who require referral will be given codes to submit to the service delivery sites they have been referred to so as to maintain anonymity. To reduce delays due to stock outs, access to services of poor quality and referral to sites that do not offer certain services, YouCare will periodically map the sites that meet the minimum YFHS standards and incorporate them into a network of YouCare referral sites. The sites will be required to send monthly reports through the same App using the client codes. During review meetings discussions will be made about the clients that did not complete the referrals and the sites that are either under/over/not reporting for service improvement. The sites will be categorized in line with Malawi’s Essential Health Package (EHP) as listed below.

1. At the community level

  • Contraceptive services, including condoms
  • HIV testing and counselling
  • Referral to health facilities or other service delivery points

2. At the health centre level

  • Contraceptive services, including condoms
  • Prevention, diagnosis, and management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Antenatal, delivery, and postnatal care services
  • Post-abortion care
  • Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT)
  • HIV testing and counselling
  • Treatment of sexual abuse victims
  • Referral to hospitals or other service delivery points
  • Counselling and referral for nutrition, substance abuse, and mental health
  • Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC)

3. At the hospital level

All of the services above, plus the following:

  • Post-abortion care
  • Treatment of sexual abuse victims, including post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
  • Reproductive health cancer screening
  • Provision of antiretroviral drugs

4. Health promotion and counselling during service delivery at all levels

  • STIs
  • Family planning
  • Reproductive health cancers, including human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine
  • Psychosocial support
  • Substance abuse
  • Nutrition
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Sexual abuse
  • Maternal healthcare
  • Adolescent growth and development
  • VMMC


We are capitalising on the increasing phone ownership which was at 85.1% in January 2016 for Malawi in general while in 2014 it was at 45.5% for the general population and 35.1% for those below 24 years (2014 and 2016 survey on access to ICT services in Malawi). Furthermore, because of the influence of social media young people have now befriended their gadgets which makes them the best platform to utilise as a vessel for bringing services closer to them. 

We also want to take advantage of the national experience on different mHealth platforms and the technical working groups that exists for both SRH and mHealth so that we can come up with something that fits into the national agenda and blends in lessons learnt so far.


User feedback will be used to evaluate user satisfaction and experience of care. Furthermore, interactions with providers behind the helpline/chat shall be recorded for quality checks.

The availability, capacity and performance of the service delivery sites shall be well documented and used for service quality improvement initiatives. Quality assurance and quality control efforts shall be periodically applied/supported to ensure that the three components meet the minimum standards for quality of care.


While maintaining the anonymity of its users, data from the app will be automatically analyzed and displayed on a dashboard which will be shared on several fora for shared learning. We will be interested in the following process indicators;

  • Number of beneficiaries that access/use the Application dis aggregated by age, sex, place and type of information they accessed.
  • Percent increase in completed referrals dis aggregated by type of service/reasons for the referral.
  • Percent increase in the number of referral sites in the YouCare network.

Keeping in mind that there are many players in this field which brings fourth the issue of attribution, YouCare will just monitor key changes in the national SRH priority outcome indicators. 


We want as much as possible to be inline with the national level efforts and capacity so that we should develop something that is both attractive but also cost effective so that when the Ministry of Health takes it on board, they should not struggle to maintain the infrastructure and make the platform part of the norm. 

Opportunity Areas – Select those that apply

  • mHealth
  • Last Mile Sexual and Reproductive Health Commodities

What specific problem(s) are you trying to address? (300 character limit)

Young people in Malawi are unable to access quality SRH services because of long distances to the nearest facilities, lack of knowledge on where they are located, cost and quality of the services, inconvenient opening hours, unavailability of commodities, long waiting time and societal restrictions.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address? (500 character limit)

Having the idea also capitalizing on facilitated referrals so as to reduce delays to accessing SRH products and services at reliable service delivery sites, majority of the unanswered questions spins around the sites i.e.; 1. How can we best single out sites that provide SRH services during odd hours? 2. How best can we map and incorporate eligible service delivery sites into the network of our referral sites and retain them? 3. How best can we get feedback on completed referrals?

Who are your end users? (1000 character limit)

1. Primary Beneficiaries The key beneficiaries are aged between 10-24 and make up over one third of the national population. They will benefit from accessing quality SRH information and services thereby reducing unnecessary clinic visits, delays to receiving care and accessing counterfeit commodities/services. 2. Secondary Beneficiaries The secondary beneficiaries are health care providers, guardians, parents, teachers and SRH stakeholders who can also use the App to make informed decisions as they tackle diverse SRH needs of young people. 3. Tertiary beneficiaries The tertiary beneficiaries are policy makers, donors and providers who can use the platforms dashboard to get a glimpse into for example the number of young people accessing different components of the App, numbers of youths referred for different services including sexual abuse, number of youths who actually completed the referrals, referral outcomes and numbers of active YFHS delivery sites and their capacity

Explain your idea. (500 character limit)

This idea inclines on timely professional advice and referral. It is a system made up of three components namely; an informative app, professional health experts available 24/7 and a network of service delivery points for referrals. The design is that a young person in need will go through the app which will provide instant guidance and if the issue is beyond the content in the app the client will be connected to an expert who will provide the necessary advice and/or referral to the right site.

What is your value proposition? (500 character limit)

1. Comprehensive Content This will give them an opportunity to access comprehensive information on SRH while remaining anonymous. It will also give them room to explore diverse topics. 2. Professional experts They will access providers 24/7 to clear misconceptions, clarify issues and address user specific needs thereby avoiding the costs of physical visits. 3. Facilitated referral and feedback They will become more confident to seek quality care and advocate for quality services.

What's different about your idea compared to current solutions? (500 character limit)

This approach, recognizes that SRH issues are both complex, diverse, cross cutting and interlinked. It thus offers a comprehensive/harmonized SRH package that is delivered through timely and evidence based professional advice and facilitated referral which is unlike most Apps in the field which mostly focus on just part of the package. Furthermore, this platform seeks to ensure that its users are only discharged from the system when they have received their needs specific care and are satisfied.

What are the key reasons why end users would turn to your organization over another?

  • Customization: Tailoring to specific needs

What would success look like for your end users? (500 character limit)

1. Uninterrupted access to the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health content specifically designed to reach the targeted age group thereby reducing here-says and use of unreliable sources for consultation. 2. Access to providers qualified to tackle diverse issues in the field which will address user specific needs reducing unnecessary delays and clinic visitation. 3. Access to quality sexual and reproductive health services and products with minimal delays and unnecessary inconvenience

How would you measure the impact your idea has on your end user(s) ? How will you measure the success of your program? (500 character limit)

We will look at the following process indicators; 1. Number of beneficiaries that access the Application (dis aggregated by age, sex, place and type of information they accessed (family planning (emergency and long term contraceptive), sexual abuse, puberty, sexual relationships, STIs, HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, ) 2. Percent increase in completed referrals (dis aggregated by type of service/reasons for the referral) 3. Percent increase in the service delivery sites in the YouCare network.

What strategies will/are you testing to acquire end users? (300 character limit)

We will use social media, integrate promotion message into existing SRH projects and programs, market the app at music concerts/festivals and present at SRH stakeholders meetings. We will also consider sponsored radio ads/programs, school campaigns, mobile network ads and news paper ads.

Key partnerships - Who will you partner with to make your idea work? (500 character limit)

OPERATION At this level we will work with young people, SRH/YFHS providers, ICT specialists, Marketing specialists, network providers, the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, the Ministry of Health, the National Reproductive Health Directorate and organizations working on SRH. RESEARCH For research and documentation we will also work closely with Kamuzu College of Nursing Reproductive Health Department. FUNDING We will also work with donors and investors to cater for different costs.

What is your organization’s name? (150 character limit)

QuaM (Quality Management) Consulting and Services

Tell us more about you: (750 character limit)

I am the Founder and Managing Director of QuaM Consulting and services. The firm aims at applying science to improve the quality of health services. We are currently working with an IT Consultant to develop the app and Sexual Reproductive Health experts to work on the content and establish a network of referral sites. My team is both enthusiastic, qualified and experienced in the field and the idea as majority of us have already worked on similar interventions in maternal and child health. We are all equally excited and devoted to see this idea become a reality as we all believe that it is a game changer as far as SRH is concerned. We are open to collaborate with individuals and organisations who can help us make this idea come to life.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Youth-led organization
  • International/global organization

Where will your idea be implemented? (200 character limit)

Malawi for a start but since the idea has a high potential to be replicated in other settings, we hope to scale beyond the borders of Malawi after gathering enough evidence and documenting results.

What do you need to get started? (500 character limit)

To establish the infrastructure and maintain high levels of excellence will need the following; 1. Human resources; They will be contracted on short and long term consultancy basis with performance and need being the key drivers. For a start we need App developers, SRH experts, IT technicians, Marketing specialists. 2. Financial resources will be needed for establishing linkages, marketing, contracting the required human resources, conducting review meetings and covering administration costs

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • It is still in planning phase and does not exist yet.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organization Location (200 character limit)

Area 12, Plot 12/98, P.O. Box 31602, Lilongwe 3, Malawi.

What is your organizational status?

  • We are a registered for-profit company (including social enterprises).

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Early Stage Innovation: I am exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.



Join the conversation:

Photo of Baxter Salatiel

This is a great idea coming at a time where mHealth is becoming major interest of Malawi Ministry of Health. We have a mHealth TWG at the ministerial level and also a google group with member of over 100. This is one of the ideas that can be presented to these fora.

Photo of Patricia Chiumia Chihana

Thank you Baxter. Please add me in the google group so that I can be up to date with the emerging policies, best practices and strategies as far as mHealth is concerned.

I equally added you to the YouCare! team so that we can benefit from your expertise.


Photo of MacGregor

Hi Patricia Chiumia  - This is cool and I agree that youth need access to anonymous digital tools. However do you know how many youth in Malawi currently use apps? I understand internet penetration in Malawi is only around 10% so maybe not many youth would be able to use the app.

Photo of Patricia Chiumia Chihana

Hie MacGregor,

For us internet is not the key driver but rather access to a mobile phone and a mobile network provider as the application will be available both online and offline (through USSD Applications). According to the 2014 Survey on access to ICT services in Malawi, mobile phones access among the targeted age group was at 35.1% which should be even higher now that its three years later. In addition to that this age group is also school going with most colleges having wifi access. We are also capitalizing on the fact that young people in this age group are mostly in groups which easily creates a multiplier effect.

A similar survey indicated that phone ownership in Malawi by January, 2016 was at 85.1% while in 2014 it was at 45.5%. Although we could not access specific data for the 10-24, this signifies that there is a rapid increase in the ownership even among our targeted beneficiaries.

We thus feel this is the right time to take advantage of this as the percentages of access keep increasing both for phone ownership and internet access.

I am open for further discussions if this has not answered your question.



Photo of Isaac Jumba

Hello Patricia Chiumia , great contribution! I like how your idea is already evolving based on some great questions from Eliziane Dorneles Siqueira  and Eunice Kajala :)

Reading through the part of your idea that would help with effective refferal to healthcare professionals reminded me of this idea: by Isabel Wilson  and team, where they are mostly focussed on matching users with the suitable professionals, based on different needs. Perhaps you could have a look at their user research findings, and see if there are any inspirations. Do you see a possiblity of collaboration with their idea maybe?

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Thank you Patricia for the answer, it clearly clarifies what was not clear for me! I look forward to you integrating lots of the feedback from the comments section in your next iteration of the idea :)


Photo of Patricia Chiumia Chihana

Dear Issac,

I have updated a number of areas so that what I am trying to pass across is clearer.

I have also worked on the process flow chart. I will be glad to get feedback from you on how I can make it better.

Thanks again,