KidzAlive@Home Mobile App: Bringing Healthcare Home for Children with HIV

Gamifying HIV Learning for Kids and Healthcare Workers

The KidzAlive@Home app has been designed to make a real and valuable impact on the lives of children and adolescents living with HIV. Envisioned by a Durban-based organisation called Zoë-Life, KidzAlive is a child-focused intervention designed to enhance the health outcomes of children and adolescents. The Zoë-Life team trains healthcare workers to provide integrated child-centred care to children, adolescents and their primary caregivers that address HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions.

When we first began co-creating with the Zoë-Life team, we helped turn their paper-based HIV healthcare tool into the KidzAlive Talk Tool app, funded by Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™. 

The KidzAlive Talk Tool app was announced as a GLOMO Award Winner at the 2024 Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, in the inaugural category of Tech4Good: Best Mobile Innovation for Enhancing The Lives of Children and Young People – read more here. After the app launched, we began work on a new solution that would bring all the benefits of the KidzAlive Talk Tool app back home with children.

When the COVID-19 pandemic sent the world into lockdown, healthcare priorities were forced to shift to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions and regulations and children were no longer able to visit clinics to have their healthcare managed as they usually did. Community-based organisations took the lead to provide one-on-one services at the household directly.  We worked to expand the Talk Tool app to include the KidzAlive HIV treatment adherence stories, known as KidzAdherence Stories, to help children and their caregivers manage their health and adherence at home.  Watch our interview with KidzAlive Mobilized Project Manager, Natalie des Fontaine about those updates here


The Zoë-Life team presented an insights-driven and extensively researched challenge. Medication adherence is crucial in the management of HIV in children and adolescents, but limited knowledge, stigma and a lack of helpful resources make it difficult to ensure medication is taken correctly, especially in low-income areas. Increased smartphone penetration in areas with limited resources has created an opportunity to remotely reach people with HIV, but medication adherence apps made specifically to engage with children living with HIV are limited. 

The KidzAlive@Home app would specifically address the factors affecting medication adherence in children and adolescents, by being accessible on any device without using up a lot of data.

The team at Zoë-Life had mapped out a list of features to include in the app. Parents or caregivers at home would need to be able to select a language (starting with English or isiZulu as part of the first phase), create individual or multiple profiles for children and set up notifications so children would receive reminders to take medication according to their ARV schedule. They also planned to include an adherence star chart, clinic appointment and viral load reminders, mood and health trackers, a viral load tracker and interactive games. 



The KidzAlive@Home app is targeted at children who are newly diagnosed with HIV and initiated on treatment, already on treatment, and adherent or non-adherent.​ The engaging experience design enables a comprehensive medical monitoring system through ethical and private data accumulation, catering for rich input from children and caregivers, as well as encryption and data security standards for sensitive information. 


For the MVP, we designed age-appropriate prompts to remind children when to take their medication and surveys to track their emotional well-being and overall health. Caregivers can also set clinic appointment reminders and access a daily summary report of their child’s medication intake, mood and health. These features aim to address some of the factors not considered in the challenge of managing HIV with children – forgetfulness, stigma and a lack of knowledge.




Outside of a clinic setting, children are often not equipped to manage their healthcare. The KidzAlive@Home app leverages the widespread accessibility of mobile phones in environments where other resources are lacking, closing the gap between wellness management in the clinic and at home for children and their caregivers. 


The KidzAlive@Home app tackles the crucial challenge of adherence among children and adolescents living with HIV. The app utilises a child-centred, psychosocial approach, leveraging technology to empower them to take control of their own health. It addresses the need for a bridge between the clinic and home, providing appropriate reminders, tracking emotional well-being, and physical health, and promoting overall health outcomes. 


The app highlights the significance of designing mHealth interventions that are developmentally appropriate and based on evidence, leading to improved adherence and health outcomes for children and adolescents. The fun interactive features of the app empower children and adolescents to play an active role in their health and has the potential to improve the quality of life for this population.


Read more about our work with Zoë-Life on the KidzAlive Talk Tool app here

Visit the KidzAlive website and find out more about their work here