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Healthcare • South Africa • Enterprise
A healthcare-oriented Web application

Merck Dora - Case Study


A lightweight application for the African healthcare market

Tetiana Drozdenko - Project Manager of Merck at Monterail
Tetiana Glenc Business Analyst

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The Company and Product

Merck DORA is a product by the Merck Group, a science and technology company that focuses on health improvements with the help of tech solutions and scientific support. So is the example of Merck Dora, a web-based application centered on helping fight diabetes in African countries. 


DORA stands for Diabetes Online Risk Assessment and is a tool that allows you to find out more about your risk of developing diabetes. Raising awareness by helping and teaching people how to recognize the symptoms, introduce treatment and avoid the risk zone with a healthier lifestyle.


Merck is actively involved in promoting worldwide the care and prevention of diabetes, as well as other diseases.

Alexander Hoffman - Head of Digitalization Africa at Merck
Not only did Monterail bring their technical expertise to the table, but they showed their sensitivity to the particular cultural context of this project by asking a lot of meaningful questions early on. Once they had fully and objectively analyzed the problems, they set about producing an original and extremely adequate application solution. Alexander Hoffman HEAD OF DIGITALIZATION AFRICA AT MERCK

Scope and Highlights


The Challenge

Merck DORA needed to overhaul and improve their existing web-based application, which promotes global health and helps identify diabetes-related problems.

Taking an existing app and making it work requires extensive research of the target market. There were important aspects to keep in mind for this app development, such as the Internet connection speeds, which are extremely low in many areas of the continent. This required a lightweight but still visually appealing application. The challenge before us entailed:

Merck DORA mobile app - Monterail Projects
Merck DORA web app - Monterail Projects

The Process

Our research showed that over 90% of DORA visitors use mobile devices, with 60% specifically using Opera Mini because it helps reduce data plan consumption by compressing data and bypassing JavaScript scripts.

Moreover, the research showed that DORA visitors use a range of devices which, in turn, translated into a plethora of resolutions. Our software development needed to include 720x1280 all the way down to 360x640, which meant that the app had to work on some very old mobile devices as well. We decided to implement a separate version for the Opera Mini browser, and use Vue.js to optimize frontend performance.

Core activities at this stage included:

Wojciech Maciejak - Ruby on Rails Developer at Monterail
The Merck DORA application sorely needed to be optimized to account for slow Internet speeds and diverse capabilities of user mobile devices in Africa. It was a great challenge, and I think we came out on top! Wojciech Maciejak RUBY ON RAILS DEVELOPER

The Outcome

Originally, Merck DORA was only available in Kenya. After our partnership, the application became available in other eight African countries, and with different language variants. We delivered a thoroughly redesigned, lightweight version of the app in Vue.js that sticks to the company’s corporate identity, weighs only 0.7 MB, and helped Merck find new partner—pharmacies in Africa.

Our involvement with the DORA app resulted in further collaboration with Merck on three projects: Merck Unite, Merck Life Science, and the Fertility Online Risk Assessment. We are convinced that our work on these medtech products will contribute to better access to high-quality healthcare.

Our success hinged on three key factors: