Project SAM (SMS Accounting Management) is a feature-phone application that will allow healthcare systems in developing countries to effectively integrate their inventory records and efficiently manage supply shipments throughout their network. Feature-phone subscription rates exceed 100% in several sub-Saharan & South American countries, and Project SAM leverages this existing hardware to allow health clinic staff to text in their inventory records to an online database overseen by the central medical supplier. With the digitalization of this vital information, the central medical distributor will be able to easily monitor inventory across multiple health clinics and estimate when new provisions are required. In addition, this data can be used to analyze supply trends, make future projections and even track disease occurrences and outbreaks.
The high penetration of basic mobile phones in developing countries and relative lack of computers and internet infrastructure particularly in rural areas creates the opportunity for Project SAM to make a substantial impact. On average, mobile phone ownership exceeds 90% throughout Latin America and most of sub-Saharan Africa, with many countries reporting mobile subscription rates above 100% of the population. Around 70% of all mobile phones sold worldwide are still feature phones and are not internet-accessible. Basic texting through the cellular network is however available on all phones, thereby ensuring that any clinic worker with a phone could use Project SAM.
Our current target is to raise approximately $30,000 to cover the costs of initial implementation for our pilot program in Peru. We have been able to leverage one of our team members’ contacts in the Peruvian government from her work on the ground with tuberculosis patients in Peru last summer, and have received their support on our path to initial implementation in Peru. The Peruvian government has voiced enthusiasm for a pilot program of Project SAM in two of the neighborhoods surrounding Lima called Callao and Lima Sur. We hope to conduct a trial run of 20-30 health clinics in these districts in late 2013, which will serve as a practical initial test of Project SAM's capabilities. Assuming a successful pilot, we will then expand the system to the rest of the country (200+ clinics) and beyond.
Current Progress & Partners
Our team has worked together since September 2012, and in that time has completed designing and developing all the technology required for Project SAM. Our Twilio Cloud Services number and the platform programmed in Ruby on Rails are fully operational, with all the features intended for our pilot program currently functional.
Project SAM has already been very successful across several social entrepreneurship competitions. We were the winners of the US Microsoft World Citizenship Challenge, as well as second place winners of the UChicago Booth Social New Venture Challenge despite being the only undergraduate team in the finals of the competition. We are also currently finalists in the Midwest Social Innovation Start-Up Challenge. As a result of these competitions we have already received $18,000 in funding. We have also established strategic partnerships with Microsoft, who is providing us with free servers and mentorship as part of their BizSpark Entrepreneurship program, and Twilio Cloud Services, who is providing us with their cellular data transfer services free of charge.