Documenting Forensic Evidence of Sexual Violence

Among its many essential features, MediCapt includes sophisticated encryption, cloud data storage, high fidelity to chain of custody standards, and tamper-proof metadata. The app has the potential to demonstrate patterns or prevalence of violence, including the widespread or systematic nature of offenses critical to demonstrating crimes against humanity. MediCapt also has the potential to facil...
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Among its many essential features, MediCapt includes sophisticated encryption, cloud data storage, high fidelity to chain of custody standards, and tamper-proof metadata. The app has the potential to demonstrate patterns or prevalence of violence, including the widespread or systematic nature of offenses critical to demonstrating crimes against humanity. MediCapt also has the potential to facilitate early warning of and rapid response to mass crimes. Significantly, the app is designed to securely collect data in conflict zones, as well as remote locations where wireless data transmission is limited. The tool can also accommodate the various languages of its end users. The collaborative process is at the core of MediCapt; end users have been engaged in the design and development process from the outset providing important feedback and recommendations on the usability and feasibility of the app. At the end of the first pilot in Kenya, 100% of clinicians surveyed agreed that MediCapt helps them do a better job of documenting sexual assault examinations. PHR continues to learn and improve the tool, notably through an upcoming evaluation funded by the World Bank Group and the Sexual Violence Research Initiative to compare the documentation on MediCapt and paper-based forms.
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Stage 3: Proof of Concept

MediCapt was developed using a process called collaborative design or “co-design,” in which we field tested the app and incorporated our partners’ feedback early in the development process to ensure that MediCapt truly responds to their needs. We began piloting the app with patients in Kenya in late 2018. To scale up MediCapt, we are seeking institutional partnerships with international organizations that have wide reach to help us bring the app to new regions. Potential partnerships include UN agencies, such as the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and other large international institutions. PHR has also established a partnership with Dropbox that provides us with technical expertise. Free of charge, PHR has access to the finest tech engineers from Dropbox to help us enhance the app’s security features and infrastructure and to offer advice and assistance to transition to scale. PHR is seeking a combination of financial investment, technical assistance, and in-kind support. We are actively cultivating new partnerships among (i) international organizations to support and validate the tool as a model of best practice globally; (ii) tech developers to support ongoing design, development, and maintenance of the app; (iii) development agencies and private sector entities to support investment in and expansion of the app to new locations; and (iv) government officials to support local implementation and investment of the app in-country. We expect that MediCapt expansion will require additional staffing for which we would also seek new funds. Moreover, PHR will need more connections in the tech sector to assure that MediCapt has the back-end capacity to meet scale up opportunities as they develop. To promote successful implementation, on the technical assistance front we are looking for support on planning for effective and sustainable scale up including financial modeling and strategic planning, as well as technical advisors to bolster the technological oversight of the project.

Focus Areas:

Health and Gender-based Violence

Health and Gender-based ViolenceSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Kenya and Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Kenya and Congo, Democratic Republic of theSEE LESS

2
Countries Implemented In
5
Employees
Verified Funding
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Problem

Every year, tens of thousands of adults and children are sexually violated in conflict zones around the world. Most survivors don’t report these crimes, but for those who do, often their cases fail due to poor evidence: forensic exams are rarely conducted, medical charts are incomplete, and clinicians, law enforcement officers, lawyers, and judges don't communicate with or understand each other.

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Solution

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) developed MediCapt, an award-winning mobile app to overcome these challenges. This critical tool converts a standardized medical intake form for forensic documentation to a digital platform and combines it with a secure mobile camera to facilitate forensic photography. Health care providers can use MediCapt to compile forensic medical evidence, photograph survivors’ injuries, and securely transmit the data to police, lawyers, and judges involved in pursuing cases of sexual violence.

Target Beneficiaries

We have trained 30 clinicians in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Kenya to collect forensic evidence of sexual violence using the app. To give a sense of the reach that widespread use of MediCapt could have, just this cohort of 30 clinicians examine and care for approximately 4,650 survivors/year. As of September 2019, 12 clinicians have piloted the app with patients in Naivasha, Kenya. During the two-month pilot period, PHR worked closely with the clinicians using the app and the hospital IT and records team to ensure smooth implementation so that end users were supported as they geared up to take MediCapt live, got the mentorship they needed to feel confident about their capabilities using MediCapt, and prepared to use the app with patients. 100% of clinicians involved in the pilot reported that MediCapt helped them do a better job documenting sexual assault examinations and agreed that sexual violence patients accepted the use of MediCapt. At the end of the pilot, the end users and the hospital administration elected to continue using MediCapt beyond the pilot period. In the coming months, in collaboration with county officials we will pilot the app with 12 clinicians at a second health care facility in Kenya. Additionally, 12 more clinicians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will participate in a pilot at the world-renowned Panzi Hospital, whose founder and medical director is Dr. Denis Mukwege, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate and a longtime PHR partner. As we cultivate new institutional partnerships with medical facilities to pilot and adopt MediCapt technology, we will also work with relevant national authorities to explore the adoption of the app by national health care services and to provide a model for digital evidence collection in the pilot countries. MediCapt has the potential to positively affect the lives of millions of sexual violence survivors through expansion in Kenya and DRC as well as its introduction in other countries where impunity for sexual violence crimes is the norm.

Competitive Advantage

To our knowledge, no mobile health platforms have been developed specifically for use among frontline health providers to forensically and clinically document human rights violations, including sexual violence. MediCapt is creating a new platform at the intersection of the digital health field of data collection and legal documentation of evidence. MediCapt will strengthen the evidence gathered in a single case and it has the potential to aggregate de-identified data to establish key epidemiological trends and patterns of criminal activity. MediCapt has received awards from the USAID/Humanity United Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention, MIT Solve Challenge, and the World Bank Group and Sexual Violence Research Initiative’s Development Marketplace for Innovation in the Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence.

The Team Behind the Innovation

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Apr 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
ORGANIZATIONWorld Bank Group and Sexual Violence Research Initiative
Oct 2018
New Country Implemented In
Kenya
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Congo, Democratic Republic of the