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Mak Adds Thermal Imaging, 3D Printing to Fight Against COVID-19

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Makerere University under the Department of Agricultural and Bio-Systems Engineering (DABE), College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) on Friday 28th August 2020 unveiled three new additions to help control the spread of COVID-19 in public spaces. The Thermal Imaging for detection of COVID-19 as well as Three-Dimensional (3D) printing of biodegradable face shields and components for the Bulamu Ventilator are all aimed at boosting the contribution of local content to the fight against the pandemic.

The Principal Investigator of the project and Chair, DABE Prof. Noble Banadda while welcoming participants to the unveiling acknowledged the support of Makerere University Health Services led by Prof. Josaphat Byamugisha and the University of Liverpool in helping to develop the Thermal Imaging component.

“Although the hardware already exists in the public domain, our academic contribution has been the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Language (ML) to develop an algorithm that can; unlike the temperature gun, take readings from four places – the throat, mouth, nose and forehead and come up an average temperature” he remarked.

Prof. Banadda shared that over 7,000 images obtained with the help of the University Hospital were used to train the algorithm which can enable the Thermal Imaging to detect people with flu-like symptoms unlike the temperature gun. He noted that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and partners had trained an algorithm that can identify COVID-19 from a cough and this would be integrated into the Thermal Imaging setup in the future.

He thereafter unveiled the 3D printing aspect with which the project had produced biodegradable face shields and components for the Bulamu Ventilator. “The shield component is made of acetate; a biodegradable polymer of wood and cotton, while the clasp was designed in consultation with a professor of medicine to ensure that it doesn’t form mist and is comfortable to wear.”

The reusable face shield also has antimicrobial properties, is easy to clean and is expected to retail for approximately UGX 5,000. The 3D Printer, said the PI can also be used to print three dimensional organs for disciplines of medicine, building models for architecture and any other programmes that rely on objects for teaching.

The Director of Quality Assurance Dr. Vincent Ssembatya and initiator of the Bulamu Ventilator innovation also made a brief presentation on how 3D printing has greatly aided the project. “Using the 3D printer, we are now able to print eleven components of the pneumatic system.”

In his remarks the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked Prof. Banadda, Dr. Ssembatya and their respective teams for the efforts invested in contributing to the fight against COVID-19. “3D printing gives very accurate dimensions and has brought about a huge revolution in technology.”

The Vice Chancellor recognized the presence of the Chairperson Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) Board of Directors Dr. Jane Mulemwa and Representative of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) Lt. Gen. Charles Angina and thanked all partners for sparing time to attend the unveiling. “We are operationalizing the Intellectual Property (IP) office and are expecting to build a Science and Technology park where all our disciplines will work together to develop even more innovations.”

Introducing the Special Guest Lt. Gen. Angina, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba paid tribute to Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho and OWC for supporting the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) Annual Entrepreneurship Expo. “The expo has over the years nurtured a lot of innovations into small businesses where our young people have been gainfully employed as part of small scale industries and contributed to the country’s development.”

In his remarks Lt. Gen. Angina commended the University leadership for the continued innovations that prove that Makerere can be the number one Higher Education Institution on the continent. “By coming up with such innovations, you have been patriotic and contributed to the global call for the fight against COVID-19.”

Lt. Gen. Angina remarked that the Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) and other outstanding innovations have paved the way for new ones to follow in their footsteps. “With the manufacture of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Uganda we will be able to have a double score on cars that can be powered by petroleum products and electricity.”

The Deputy Chief Coordinator OWC tasked the Bulamu Ventilator innovators to quickly secure approval for the essential device and produce as many as possible so as to meet the demand not only in Uganda, but the rest of the Africa. He equally tasked the Thermal Imaging team to expand their scope to night vision devices so as to enhance the nocturnal operations of security agencies.

He concluded his remarks by appreciating the President and Commander in Chief of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces, H.E. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for his leadership that recognizes the contribution of the academia, research and innovations to national development.


Article by Public Relations Office

Engineering, Design, Art & Tech.

Mak Bids Farewell to Prof. Anthony Kerali

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Chairperson MUASA-Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi bears the framed photo as pallbearers carry the late Prof. Anthony Kerali’s remains out of St. Augustine through an arch of clubs mounted by fellow golfers after the Requiem Mass on 23rd February 2021, St. Augustine Chapel, Makerere University.

By Betty Kyakuwa

Staff of Makerere University on February 23, 2021 honorably bid farewell to their fallen comrade Prof. Anthony G. Kerali. As if to mimic the elegant and flamboyant lifestyle that he lived, the academic staff led by the Vice Chancellor, donning their academic gowns, escorted the casket into the church.

Prof. Kerali was described by many as a simple, quiet and intelligent individual who performed exceptionally well in everything he did.

“We are sincerely grateful to God that Prof. Kerali was able to share his knowledge with thousands of students through teaching, mentoring, field work supervision and his day to-day life. He was a man who offered distinguished service to Makerere University and the country,” the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, said.

Prof. Kerali was described as a prolific writer who won research grants worth USD 2million. He was passionate about education, its transformative impact on society and an individual’s upward mobility.

One of his Colleagues at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), Dr. Dans Naturinda shared his education journey with Prof. Kerali. “Dr. Anthony Kerali was one of the lecturers who had to teach me in a one-man class; he taught me Strategic Management in Construction, one of the courses that shaped my outlook to inspire and influence the Ugandan construction industry,” he said. Dr. Dans described Kerali as a good father-figure and professional.

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Kayoola Diesel Bus launched

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Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC), a state enterprise established to champion value addition in the domestic automotive industry has a launched their latest product -the Kayoola Diesel Bus.

The 47-seater executive coach, the first of a kind in the East and Sub Saharan -Africa that was unveiled by the automotive industry leaders Kiira Motors at UPDF’s Luwero Industries in Nakasongola on 17th February 2021. The bus had just returned to Kampala from a 900 kilometers roadshow trip in western Uganda where it was showcased to excited Ugandans- who applauded the Ugandan engineers for proving to the world that the country can now produce commercial vehicles locally. Kiira Motors is led by the Executive Chairman Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa. Prof. Tickodri-Togboa taught at and served as a Deputy Vice Chancellor(Finance and Administration).

The KMC Chief Executive Officer Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi said that while designing and building this unique bus the company’s team of engineers ensured better aerodynamic performance , fuel efficiency and safety of passengers. The bus is configured to a luxury interior featuring 47 reclining leather seats (43 Executive + 2VIP + 1 Guide + 1 Driver), a lavatory (toilet), on board Wi-Fi, refrigerator and CCTV cameras. The bus conforms to EURO 111 emissions standards.

Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe is one of the prominent Ugandans who have had a ride on the Kayoola Diseal Bus . He stated thus ; “It feels good to be aboard the ultra modern Kiira Kayoola Diesel bus, designed by Makerere University trained engineers and built in Uganda by Ugandan engineers with more than 50% indigenous parts. Finally we are on the move.”

While flagging off the bus from Nakasongola to Kampala , Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi, the Luweero Industries General Manager appealed to Ugandans to support the state owned nascent car manufacturer in order to develop the country’s automotive industry.

“Ugandans need to support our own because when we produce and no one consumes the products, we put their work down. This bus is the best I have ever seen. It has the finest features, it consumes only 22 litres of diesel per 100 kilometers and I don’t know whether there’s any part of the country this coach doesn’t reach,” Gen Sabiiti stated .

Kiira Motors and the partners plan to produce and deploy 1,030 Buses by end of 2021, 50 of which will be electric. Makerere University is one of the equity partners of KMC.

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How a Researcher is Using Art to Create HIV Awareness

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Some of the HIV awareness and prevention messages engraved on furniture at an exhibition by Mr. Robert Ssewanyana at the Makerere Art Gallery, MTSIFA, CEDAT, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

By Betty Kyakuwa & Isaac Abaho

Researchers have been called upon to increase awareness about HIV among the population. The call was made by Rtd. Maj. Rubaramira Ruranga, during the opening of Mr. Robert Ssewanyana’s art exhibition that sought to create HIV awareness and prevention in slum areas of Kampala. Maj. Rubaramira said the biggest reason for the increase in HIV is lack of knowledge and information by the population especially in the rural areas.  The exhibition was attended by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration) Dr. Josephine Nabukenya as well as organisations doing HIV treatment and rehabilitation.

Maj. Rubaramira said there was no reason as to why people should contract HIV even if raped. He pointed to the existence of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), an emergency treatment to prevent HIV after exposure. This treatment is given before 72 hours after exposure or rape.

The spread of HIV has been on the rise especially among the young people aged between 15 and 24 years.  This has been due to lack of knowledge about HIV especially among the rural communities. In the urban centres, HIV increase has been attributed to a number of factors, including, poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, a thriving commercial sex industry and lack of knowledge of matters relating to the spread of HIV. To this end, Mr. Robert Ssewanyana, an artist and lecturer at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Art set out to work with communities in an effort to create awareness and prevent the spread of HIV. He worked with communities of Bwaise, Ndeeba and Katwe.

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