Today, healthcare organizations are facing unprecedented challenges to improve quality and access to health care service packages. As such, innovations in health have become a major focus once again with the goal to reduce health care disparities.
In order to address the above need, The Ugandan Academy for Health Innovations and Impact in March 2019, hosted a successful second edition of the Annual Health Innovations Conference at Serena Kampala hotel. The event was attended by 270 participants, an upsurge from last year’s 175 participants.
The two-day event was attended by implementing partners from The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Clarke Group, Case Hospital, Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Andela Uganda, Innovation Village and Janssen, the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson among others.
This year’s theme “Sustainable Health for all: Harnessing the fourth Industrial revolution” featured presentations and demonstrations aimed at bringing health innovations to the last mile and ensuring that scale up is achieved for start-up innovations.
During the opening ceremony which was led by the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Makerere University, Prof. Umar Kakumba appreciated the Ugandan Academy and the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) for working towards research and addressing healthcare service delivery needs in Uganda.
“I continue to thank the Infectious Diseases Institute, The Ugandan Academy, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and all the other partners who have been very generous with their support and in turn boosted the image of Makerere University,” he said.
The lineup of reputable speakers included Kwame Rugunda (the chief executive officer of Crypto Savannah and head of the Block chain Association of Uganda), a technology entrepreneur, Prof. Elly Katabira (founder of the first HIV clinic and The Ugandan Academy Board co-chair) and Brian Gitta, founder of Matibabu a non-invasive device that detects malaria in less than two minutes.
Also present was Solomon King, the founder of Fundi Bots, who called upon developers to always remember the end user when innovating – “The danger of being a techie, is your infatuation with your product, but you should always remember the end user has to be at the center of your thinking.”
Unique to this year’s conference was a 17-hour Hack-a-thon spearheaded by Andela Uganda – #AndelaIDIHealthHack. Culminating out of the hack-a-thon were three fan favorite groups which displayed applications to address, breast cancer and sexual reproductive health. Among the three, the overall champion of the health hack was team Cephor who designed a Breast Cancer Glove kit which can be used for breast cancer screening.
As a climax to the conference, David Blair the Chief Technology Officer of Andela handed over awards to the three winning teams with team Cephor receiving six months’ worth of technical support from the Innovation Village, to improve their idea and gauge feasibility. Other winners in the abstract presentations, both oral and poster, included Alpha Doctors, whose innovation revolves around tele-medicine, Mbabara University’s Neonatal resuscitator designed to reduce deaths in newborns due to failed breathing as well as William Wasswa also of Mbarara who presented on a pap smear automated analysis tool for diagnosis and classification of Cervical cancer from pap-smear Images. The awards included a Hisense television, cash prizes ranging from UGX500,000 to UGX2,000,000.
The conference also featured a live painter Rolands Tibirusya who visualized the proceedings through painting on a canvas. Lastly, for those that missed the HIV history exhibition which was displayed at the Uganda museum in partnership with The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) and Uganda AIDS Commission in December 2018 and January 2019, were able to view an abridged version of it at the conference.
The closing ceremony was presided over by, Prof. Elly Katabira, the Board Co-Chair of the Ugandan Academy who urged young innovators to take heart and continue to incessantly pursue their goals. “I might be skeptical to endorse your idea because am scared it may fail and people say that’s the professor who endorsed the failed project so I might discourage you, but I encourage you to politely tell me that am wrong and work hard to see that its completed.”
Article by Tracy Ahumuza, Communications Officer, The Uganda Academy for Health Innovation and Impact
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,907 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled
The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) conducted a Research Dissemination of two studies aimed at the Development of Materials for point of use water treatment systems.
The investigations were conducted by a team of researchers comprised of P. W. Olupot, H. M. Kalibbala, E. Menya, G.M. Wangi, J. Jjagwe, J. Wakatuntu, M. Turyasingura, R. Walozi, C. Kanyesigye and R. N. Kulabako.
The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
Apac District gains from CEDAT’s Research on Piloting a Rural Broadband Connectivity Model and Efficacious patient management system
The School of Engineering at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) shared findings of research that was conducted in Apac Districts through two projects namely Piloting a Rural Broadband Connectivity Model (RCBM) and Efficacious patient management system (EPMS).
The findings of the research sponsored by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University research and Innovation Fund(MakRIF) were disseminated during a dissemination seminar held in the College on Friday 24th November 2023, where it was revealed that Apac the host District greatly benefited from the services that not only led to the increased uptake of internet services but also gained through other socio economic areas.
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