Saturday September 30 2017

Solving challenges through innovation

Understanding. Prosper Ahimbisibwe, the M-Scan

Understanding. Prosper Ahimbisibwe, the M-Scan team leader consults a woman to understand how and where they need to improve. Photo by EDGAR R BATTE. 

By EDGAR R BATTE

A group of 14 young people set up an innovation centre where they use varied abilities to offer solutions to societal challenges.
The centre was established under four teams to make up - Up Accelerate – that is supported by United Nations Population Fund and Outbox to offer mentorship, seed funding, business training and technical guidance.
Innovation is a function of employment. Therefore, start-ups such as Up Accelerate, need to be supported through business incubation and training.
Outbox, which is a business and incubation facility, in that case, supports Up Accelerate to develop technology-based innovations that not only promote entrepreneurship but create job.
Uganda’s job market continues to face stress from massive unemployment that has peaked to more than 65 per cent, according to data from Uganda Bureau of Standards.
Therefore, innovations such as Up Accelerate have become a necessity that needs to be support.
Up Accelerate has been able to develop a number of innovative facilities such as Digi Health, which according to Jacqueline Mutumba, the team leader, is a mobile and web-based technology solution that improves data collection and analysis in the health sector.
Other innovations include low cost sanitary pads technology, a chest drainage device to support women with lung complications and a low cost mobile ultrasound device.
According to Innocent Menyo, the team leader of Mobile Scan Solutions (M-Scan), which developed the ultrasound device idea, many of the ideas are conceived through experiences such pregnancy-related complications and lack of or low access to health care facilities, among others.
M-Scan, for instance, which has a group of graduate members with a medical and technological background such as Prosper Ahimbisibwe, Ivan Nasasira and Phyllis Kyomuhendo, developed the ultrasound device to offer solutions to rural pregnant women.
M-Scan consists of software running on mobile phone probe device to scan an expectant woman by a trained person, with the results viewed on a mobile phone through installed software.
Digi Health, according to Mutumba works through an application that is installed on a portable device such as a mobile phone or tablet.
The device, which is powered through the internet, records data that is automatically analyzed and displayed on a centralised dashboard for patient records to be viewed.

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