‘A session designated to discussing smart Health solutions powered by smart engineering techniques?’

What an enriching way to conclude the week and month! The late hours of Friday September 29, 2017 saw the RAN team, students, faculty together with the Innovation Garage participants and community at large energetically join in the RAN 19th Innovation Garage Session at the RAN Innovation Lab on Plot 28, Upper Kololo Terrace. ‘It was thrilling to note that through the support received during the Innovation Garage Session, innovators, creative thinkers and the community members have tried and failed, picked their pieces and moved on with different topics and research areas but most significantly, others have continuously steadily moved on, made progress and are now making sales’ noted Brian Ndyaguma, In-Charge Business Modeling at RAN.

During thisInnovation Garage Session, a team from one of Uganda’s leading telecommunication companies MTN Uganda as part of the Innovation Garage participants shared about the 2017 MTN Innovation Awards Road Show. John Babirukamu, Digital Communications Manager at MTN engaged a team of over 35 Garage participants sharing about the 2017 MTN Innovation Awards. John was flanked by Paul Mwirigi, PR Director TBWA\ The Disruption® Company. They shared that the Awards covered 8 different categories including; Health, Education, Financial Inclusion, Best SME, Agriculture, Media and Entertainment, Outstanding Woman, Innovative Mobile Application and the Innovation Achiever of the Year.  The two males representing MTN Uganda also shared that MTN is open to partnership and it would be their pleasure to closely collaborate and work with more innovation incubation labs/hubs like the ResilientAfrica Innovation Lab. In this vein, the RAN team requested for a follow-on conversation with the MTN team directed towards leverage and partnership for the service of those in need. Additionally, the garage participants were sensitized that an individual or a team could craft and submit ideas to the MTN awards in more than one category or even apply once and check or tick all the applicable categories. The call was open to any organization, individual, institution and team of applicants noting that all submissions made to this call should be already running innovations NOT ideas.

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John Babirukamu, Digital Communications Manager at MTN

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Moreover, excitingly this month, the Innovation Garage hosted: “The Jet Nebulizer”​ - that delivers nebulized medication for acute asthma. This device is manually operated using a bicycle pump, plastic tubings and a mask. All these have been locally assembled ​by​ a team of medical doctors from Makerere University College of Health Sciences.

Hurdle for the Innovation Garage participants: The device in its current phase is functional, although it is bulky and labor intensive to assemble and operate. As usual and with support from the Innovation Garage participants, the team of innovators refined the device (proposing alterations to both the design and functionality of the same) in preparation of piloting it in Uganda.

Some of the suggestions to improve the Jet Nebulizer from Garage participants include the following;

  • The ideal users would include; mothers, health workers, children, adults at home etc.
  • These users could be subjected to walk somewhere, carry a child, the device itself, could be far from the health center, have no accesses to electricity, earn and use less than a dollar a day, are illiterate and might be people living with disabilities etc.
  • For the functionality arm, the innovators were challenged to think about the pumping cycles-these need to be maximized, add dynamism to the pump and consider fabricating a pedal powered pump thus replacing the hand pump.

The Innovation Garage at RAN remains a robust multi-disciplinary collaborative platform where innovators get real time quick fixes of their projects with very creative and brave individuals. We would like to see technologies developed in Africa launched on the global market and through such sessions like the Innovation Garage, we hope to support local solutions that will transcend nations.

Do not miss yet another unique session during the 20th Innovation Garage at the RAN Innovation Lab scheduled for October 27, 2017 4:00 pm EAT.

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