Wartburg students win big at MIT contest for entrepreneurs

The Global Business Plan Competition awarded a grant for $20,000 to Kwabena Owusu-Amoah (above right) and his business group, Hecuba, for creating an healthcare app. — Hecuba Digital Engagement

The Global Business Plan Competition awarded a grant for $20,000 to Kwabena Owusu-Amoah (above right) and his business group, Hecuba, for creating an healthcare app. — Hecuba Digital Engagement

Show Kwabena Owusu-Amoah a problem and he will say there is an app for that.

Owusu-Amoah, a junior at Wartburg, is tackling the issues pregnant mothers in developing countries face in receiving proper healthcare. He created a simple cell phone app.

The app, called Obaa 2.0, was created in order to change healthcare delivery across the world, Owusu-Amoah said.

“The app sends customized health alerts to pregnant women through their mobile phones,” he explained.
“Also, local health officers in rural areas can take the vital readings of a pregnant woman including blood pressure and temperature and input it in the app alongside the woman’s health history.”

From that point, the app will allow doctors from any point in the world to assess the mother’s health information and offer a diagnosis based on the examination.

The analysis will be sent to the local health officer who will then share the doctor’s diagnosis with the expectant mother in real time.

Student Anne Epley-Birtwistle, the head of the health section of Owusu-Amoah’s team, said healthcare for pregnant mothers giving birth in developing countries should be a concern for global citizens.

“In the United States, the thought of a mother dying before or after birth is not that large of a concern,” Epley-Birtwistle said.
“However, in Sub-Saharan Africa, women have a one-in-16 chance of dying during pregnancy and childbirth as compared to women in the developed world who have a one-in-4,000 chance of dying during the same periods.”

The creators of Obaa 2.0 hope to change that.

“With our invention, women in rural areas don’t have to travel long distances to see a doctor, instead they can just have their vital readings entered into the app by a local health officer,” Owusu-Amoah said.

Owusu-Amoah and his team began to work on the Obaa 2.0 app in early 2013. They formed a company around the app called Hecuba, aimed at creating innovative solutions to pressing social problems.

“Hecuba has a very competent team of students from Wartburg and we were able to overcome the numerous hurdles,” Owusu-Amoah said. “We are still making changes to the app and making it even better.”

With the Hecuba team, Owusu-Amoah has received recognition from the Global Business Plan Competition in late March and a $20,000 grant to continue developing the project.

The Global Business Plan Competition assists young entrepreneurs developing innovative global projects.

The future for the Hecuba group is bright, Owusu-Amoah said.

“Apart from the cash prize, we get an office in Boston and the opportunity for five members of our team to live on the MIT campus and learn from entrepreneurs and professors in the Boston area,” he said.

The group will continue to work this summer when Owusu-Amoah and Epley-Birtwistle travel to Ghana to oversee the construction of a clinic which will use the app.

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