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

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  • 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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Advert: Mature Age Entry Scheme – Private Sponsorship 2024/2025

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Students sit for an exam in the pre-COVID era, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites applications for the Undergraduate
Programmes under the Mature Age Entry Scheme only for Private Sponsorship for
2024/2025 Academic Year.
Non-Refundable Application fee of Shs. 50,000/= for Ugandans OR $75 Equivalent for
Internationals, plus bank charge should be paid in any of the banks used by Uganda
Revenye Authority after generating a Payment Reference Number (PRN).

  • Apply using the Institution’s Applications Portal URL:https: //apply.mak.ac.ug
  • Application is for candidates who passed the Mature Age Entry Examinations of December 17, 2022 and February 24, 2024 only.
  • Any candidate who passed the examinations in mentioned above and was not admitted on Government/ Private sponsorship for December 17, 2022 sitting, and for Government sponsorship for February 24, 2024 sitting, is eligible to apply for admission on Private Sponsorship for 2024 /2025 Academic Year.

The closing date for applying will be Friday 26th July, 2024.

Further details can be accessed by following this link.

Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza
ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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Diploma/Degree Holders Admission Lists 2024/25

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Main Library, Makerere University. Photo taken on 29th February 2016.

The Office of Academic Registrar, Makerere University has released lists of Diploma/Degree Holder applicants admitted under Private/Self Sponsorship for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that admission is subject to verification of academic documents by the awarding institutions.

The admission list is displayed here below:

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African Futures Research Leadership Program: Cohort 5 – Call for Scholars

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Participants at the initial AAP convening participate in design-thinking exercises to help imagine the future of partnerships between MSU and Africa. Photo: AAP

The Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) is seeking applicants for the fifth cohort of the AAP African Futures Research Leadership Program. This competitive visiting scholar program supports early career researchers from the AAP consortium to work for one year under the mentorship of faculty members from MSU and their home institution, focusing on building skills in research for impact, writing scholarly and/or policy publications, disseminating of research results, and developing grant proposals for external support. Scholars will also participate in a structured professional development program while building bridges and lasting connections with MSU contacts and across their cohort. 

The main objective of the African Futures program is to strengthen the capacity of a cadre of African researchers to return to their home institutions and become scientific leaders in their community, establish long-term partnerships with MSU faculty, co-create innovative solutions to Africa’s challenges, and in turn become trainers of the next generation of researchers. This program aims to address the gender gap in Africa, where only 30% of researchers are women, so scholars selected for the program will be women, or men who can demonstrate they are committed to support efforts towards gender equity in higher education institutions in Africa. The research areas that the scholars will engage in during the program should be aligned to AAP’s research priority areas

The AAP Management Team requests applications from early career researchers to participate in the next cohort, with work to begin virtually in February 2025. Scholars will spend September – December 2025 at MSU for the in-person portion of the program, followed by another period of virtual collaboration, ending in early 2026. The scholar and mentor team will receive a small grant for research and professional development activities including conference attendance and publication. Scholars will also receive a stipend during their time at MSU, visa application support, and round-trip travel from their home institution.

Eligibility

  • Citizen of an African country 
  • Completion of a PhD degree within the last 10 years 
  • Employed as an Academic Staff member at one of the AAP African consortium universities including Egerton University, Makerere University, University of Dar es Salaam, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Botswana, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University Cheikh Anta Diop, University of Arts and Humanities, Bamako, United States International University-Africa, and University of Pretoria 
  • Have documented approval of leave or sabbatical to participate in the program for the in-person period 
  • Have a mentor at their home institution that will serve as a collaborator and mentor
  • Research must be in one of the AAP priority areas
  • Applicants may only submit one proposal to AAP in this round of funding. Prior scholars are not eligible to apply. 

To learn more about the program, including how to apply, click below

Learn more

Applications to be an African Futures scholar are due August 18, 2024

Additional program dates:

  • Program start date (virtual): February 2025
  • In-person program: Sept – Dec 2025
  • Program end date: February 2026

Please contact Jose Jackson-Malete at jacks184@msu.edu or +1 517-353-6989 with any questions.

Source: AAP

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