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Mak unveils a Touchless Handwashing Kit for public shared spaces in response to COVID-19 pandemic

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Patrick J. Mugisha (Left)  the Assistant Commissioner, Innovations and Intellectual Property Management - Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation wash hands after launching the TW-20 Handwashing Machine
  • 15 Kits fabricated and donated to health facilities and markets
  • Over 40,000 hand washers recorded from Kits installed in one week
  • A Kit costs UGX 1,600,000 ; half price for large scale production.

Makerere University has launched a Touchless Handwashing (Tw-20) Kit as a responsive technology to the COVID-19 Pandemic resulting from the need to limit contact with surfaces while ensuring diligent hand hygiene.

The technology was launched on 7th August 2020 at the University Main Building during the Scientific function witnessed by the Assistant Commissioner, Innovations and Intellectual Property Management Patrick J. Mugisha from the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation.

One kit was donated to Makerere University Main Building received by the Director Makerere University Estates and Works Department Eng. Dr. Christine Kakeeto and another one given to the University Hospital received by the University Hospital Director, Dr. Josaphat K. Byamugisha.

Also present were the project partners from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Makerere University Biomedical Engineering Unit, Makerere University Mak-RIF Secretariat and Badaye Technologies.

The university is implementing a project titled,” Development of a Green Low Cost Touchless Handwash Technology ( TW-20 Kit) for public Shared Spaces”, funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovation Fund (Mak-RIF).The participants pose for a group photo during the scientific launch at the Makerere University Main Building.

The project is spearheaded by Dr. Joshua Wanyama as the Principal Investigator (PI) from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences assisted by Dr. Robert T Ssekitoleko as Co-PI from the Department of Physiology, College of Health Sciences.

Dr. Wanyama said when the first COVID -19 case in Uganda was announced in March 2020, Badaye (a private firm owned by Mak Alumni) embarked on developing and testing the first prototype of the TW-20 Kit to automate handwashing.

He explained that TW as an acronym signifies the,"Touchless Wash" while,"20"signifies the 20 seconds which are minimally recommended by WHO to effectively hand wash with soap.

He said that after the development of the first prototype, the Kit was trialed in the Kasubi-Kawaala suburb and Kawaala Health Centre IV for a month to obtain field based preliminary results for proof-of-concept and feedback from users.

Dr. Wanyama reported that the results were convincing and based on the results, there was need to improve the design of the Kit and thus Badaye partnered with Makerere University to move the project further.Eng. Christine Kakeeto receiving the cable and soap for the kit donated to Mak from the PI Dr. Joshua Wanyama flanked by Co PI Dr. Robert T Ssekitoleko.

“With support from Mak-RIF, the design has been improved and 15 Kits fabricated and installed at different publicly shared spaces in Kampala Metropolitan Area. The results are exciting; we have recorded over 40,000 handwashers from the Kits installed in just one week of Installation”, Dr. Wanyama stated.

The 15 beneficiaries of TW-20 Kits are:- Makerere University, Makerere University Hospital, Mulago National Referal Hospital, Kawempe National Referral Hospital, Luweero town Market, and Kiruddu National Referral Hospital. Others are Kalerwe Market, Kawaala Health Centre IV, Nansana- Masitoowa market, Entebbe Grade B Hospital, Nakasero Market, Nakawa Market, Mbuya market and Mukono Health Centre IV.

“With the current progress on handwashing hygiene adherence, we have reported a need to increase the number of kits installed and also scale out to different points and this is where we need a hand from different developmental partners and Mak-RIF to expand our collective impact in the COVID 19 fight”, The PI Dr. Joshua Wanyama submitted.

The Assistant Commissioner Innovations and Intellectual Property Management in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Patrick J. Mugisha said the ministry was practically more set to coordinate the research innovation ecosystem in the country by engaging different players, the biggest being the academia.[L-R] A representative from Badaye Technologies, Dr. Josaphat K. Byamugisha -University Hospital Director, and Commissioner Patrick J. Mugisha interact after the launch

He said for a long time the country has had many questions put forward to the academia for doing a lot of research and the economic tangible output of their research.

“Now something is up in the cooking within the university setting. They have realized the need to take advantage and establish a functional Innovation Fund Management and Intellectual Property office. I want to thank the PI and team, Badaye Technologies and Makerere University for giving them the platform to make this possible. I want to thank Mak –RIF for the hard lobbying for money and making the office functional.” Commissioner Mugisha appreciated.

He urged every stakeholder to turn around the fortunes of Makerere university by embracing the value of Intellectual Property saying, incentives are available and what they should do is to invent, value research, have startups, link the university to industry and lots of royalties and payments will be coming into the university.

As a ministry Mr. Mugisha pledged support and endorsement of the technology, take over the entire development team on Innovation and IP Management as well as the technical aspects since a lot is expected to come out of this innovation.

The Mak-RIF Engagement Officer Ms. Carol Kamugira said Makerere University asked Government for help to get the research output off the shelves into the society and government responded to support high impact research and innovations in health agriculture, engineering among others. Patrick J. Mugisha(Left), Dr. Robert T Ssekitoleko(Second Right) interact with Carol Kamugira (Extreme Right))

“ We got a big funding of shs.30 billion per year for the next three years. A special and very urgent call for COVID-19 funding came up. So Dr. Wanyama and Dr. Ssekitoleko were among those brilliant people that responded with a great project that you could see an impact in a short time.

We received 300 applications and very few people were selected for the COVID-19 call. It is very amazing to see that something small like handwashing practice that had been forgotten for a long time has attracted the attention of the whole world. We are happy to see that the result are already on the ground”, Ms.Kamugira appreciated.

Julius Mugaga working with Badaye Technologies explained that the technology allows one to wash hands without touching anything but using normal jerricans, water and liquid soap.

He said the major component of the Kit is the spout where water and soap comes from but the system is built with solar, a battery and can be plugged in electricity.

“This system dispenses soap, gives you time of about 10 seconds to rub before it can give you rinsing water. It is precise, in that, it will always give you enough soap and water, no excess no less. Also every time the system gets used, we can monitor two parameters-: performance in terms of the kit technical operations and defaults and performance of how many people are using it at a time” Mr. Mugaga said.Julius Mugaga demonstrating how the TW-20 works.

This means that if given to an institution, one can monitor the behavior of the users without being on site because the report will come out daily, weekly or as requested.

The other advantage of this kit is that because it gives data, one can compare the data with other users in different sites to see the performance as a country eg the performance of a sector, a hospital, school or a market.

‘” With that data we are trying to make sure that handwashing can be remotely and digitally be monitored. We have started receiving orders and we are happy that public parastatals are putting in orders but we are in research phase .

The system is good for a community of 50+ people. So, schools, markets, hospitals, universities need this because they crowd where its difficult to regulate handwashing.

The kit has an audio guide while one is washing hands, it gives instructions in English, Luganda but it can be customized according to what needs of organization for example passing on information for business for every person who washes hands.” Mr. Mugaga explained.

Mr. Magaga also said, the Kit can be supplied at a cost of UGX 1,600,000 but this can be reduced to half for large scale production.

Report Compiled by :

Jane Anyango,
Principal Communication Officer, CAES.

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Resumption of Teaching and Learning for Final Year Medical Students

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Members of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences Students Association (MAKCHSA) pose for a photo ahead of their 1st College Open Day and Alumni Convention held on 1st November 2019.

Featured image: Members of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences Students Association (MAKCHSA) pose for a photo ahead of their 1st College Open Day and Alumni Convention held on 1st November 2019.

This is to inform all Final Year Medical Students that teaching and learning activities which were halted following the closure of education institutions in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, will resume on Saturday 3rd October 2020.

You are therefore required to report to your respective Deans in the College of Health Sciences for detailed information.

Note that you must strictly adheare to the Standard Operating Procedures put in place by the Ministry of Health to combat the spread of COVID-19 which include among others:

  • Mandatory wearing of a clean mask covering the mouth and nose
  • Social distancing
  • Washing of hands regularly and/or sanitizing hands

Further note that the schedule of the remaining semester shall cover 8 weeks (5 weeks for teaching and learning and 3 weeks of examinations).

Alfred Masikye-Namoah
ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

17th September 2020

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IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme for Female Students

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Female graduands pose for the camera in January 2018 after a session of the 68th Graduation Ceremony, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. Photo credit: GMD

Featured image: Female graduands pose for the camera in January 2018 after a session of the 68th Graduation Ceremony, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. Photo credit: GMD

The application process has opened for female students interested in applying for a scholarship from the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (MSCFP) towards their Master’s degrees in nuclear science and technology, nuclear safety and security or non-proliferation. The fellowship will provide scholarships for up to 100 selected applicants annually, to help enhance the pool of qualified young women in the nuclear field. It also aims to support an inclusive workforce of both men and women for the future, contributing to global scientific and technological innovation from all over the world as diversity gives opportunity to greater creativity and productivity. Candidates have until midnight on 11 October 2020 to apply for the first 100 scholarships.

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RUFORUM Thought Piece on COVID-19: Are we prepared for an integrated Africa?

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RUFORUM Thought Piece on COVID-19 by Her Excellency Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, 6th President of the Republic of Mauritius

Featured image: RUFORUM Thought Piece on COVID-19 by Her Excellency Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, 6th President of the Republic of Mauritius

The current and future direction for the continent. Are we prepared for an integrated Africa?

January 2020, African countries signed on to the Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and 30 have already ratified thus paving the way to the implementation of a single continental market for goods and services and laying the foundation for the establishment of the continental customs union.

The continent is taking a bold step towards multilateralism by creating the largest free trade area since the setting up of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995. Africa’s narrative is changing from that of a development perspective to an investment one. Countries want to attract investment and at the same time deepen the much needed regional and global engagement especially as we emerge out of the COVID 19 era.

Over the past few years, Africa’s annual GDP growth has consistently outpaced the global average and was expected to remain at least 6% until 2023. Even if COVID 19 has changed these projections; it is a fact that by 2050, the continent’s population is predicted to be over 2.5 billion, according to the United Nations and the World Economic Forum – more than the combined populations of China and India today. The richest 10% of the African continent will be driving demand for consumer goods and services and this represents at least 200 million people.

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