This month, we are featuring Jon Rethauser, CEO and founder of Keheala. Jon developed his solution as a member of the first Pears Challenge cohort in 2014. With a Bachelor of Science in Ecological Determinants of Health from McGuill University and a MBA from the Technion, Jon has developed this impressive Digital Health platform from Israel. In only 6 years, Keheala is already operating in Kenya and Zimbabwe, and with a team of 10 people in Kenya alone.
Some highlights of 2019: Keheala was featured in the World Economic Forum, New England Journal of Medicine, New York Times among others, following the award of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Michel Kramer, founder of USAID's Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), USAID featured Keheala as one of the promising ventures funded by the program. 2020 is also looking bright for Keheala, with more great announcements coming soon!
About Keheala's technology: Despite being curable, TB is the most deadly infectious disease in the world, killing more than HIV and Malaria. With extensive medication regimes and social stigmas surrounding the diagnosis, lack of adherence to TB treatment is one of the main causes of this infectious disease’s prevalence. Fortunately, Keheala utilizes behavioural psychology and technology for tackling TB in Africa through innovative, non-medical support for TB patients. It developed an interactive communication between patients and providers — rather than, one-way reminders about medication - motivating patients to continue their recovery regimens. Thanks to the solution, TB patients can now send a text code to Keheala to sign up for daily messages asking if they had taken their medication - this program helps to hold patients accountable; if they don’t respond or haven’t been actively responding to the texts, then they receive multiple reminders and a staff member reaches out to them and discuss the treatment regime. Keheala focuses on technologies that are accessible from 99 percent of all phones, which means that it can serve some of the most marginalised populations. This innovative two-way system also ensures that the patient has access to resources and mentorship outside of the clinical setting. Keheala has seen positive progress within its program—in a randomised controlled trial at 17 clinical sites in Kenya with 1,200 participants, 96 percent of the patients were able to achieve a successful treatment outcome. As a result, the United States Agency for International Development gave Keheala a grant to expand its trial to 16,000 Kenyans in eight counties. Watch the video to see more about Keheala's impact! Jon's tip for future entrepreneurs of technology for development: "Don’t think about it differently. Solve development problems as you would any other type of problem. Be close to the problem you’re trying to solve or the people you’re trying to serve. Do your homework, find strong partners and make sure you’re passionate about what you do before you get started…. it only gets harder." We asked Jon: what do you benefit from the Israeli DevTech ecosystem? Here is his answer: "Community, or Keheala ("community" in Hebrew), is everything! Keheala has benefited tremendously through access to ecosystem resources, conversations and events. Meeting others working on really tough challenges is inspiring while having other like-minded individuals to speak with is often therapeutic:" Thank you Jon Rathauser, Keheala's CEO and founder for this inspiring story! Good luck in accomplishing your great mission!