Kampala. Ugandan born inventor Philippa Ngaju Makobore has won a Shs90m ($25,000) prize for a medical device she designed to accurately administer intravenous (IV) fluids and drugs by controlling the rate of fluids flow basing on feedback from a drop sensor.
Ms Makobere’s innovation called the Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed infusion set (ECGF) beat eight other contestants to second prize of the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
More than 2,500 people applied for the prize. The Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) electrical engineer’s device is easy to operate and has key safety features, which include alarms for the rate of infusion (rapid or slow), total volume (over or under) and fault sensors.
A battery utilising a hybrid (AC mains and solar) charging bed powers the device.
IV infusions are critical for both adults and children in various situations.
Millions of children and sometimes adults need immediate infusion therapy.
Findings from the Fluid Expansion As Supportive Therapy (FEAST) trial investigating the effects of fluid boluses in the resuscitation of febrile children with evidence of poor perfusion indicate that over-infusion in children increased the absolute risk of death by 3.3 per cent at 48 hours.
Erroneous delivery rates can result in serious adverse effects but Ms Makobere’s device has the potential to save lives by providing accuracy and safety at 8 per cent the cost of a brand new infusion pump. It is estimated that more than 130,000 children per year will be positively impacted by this device, improving patient care, safety and saving lives.
Egyptian Aly El-Shafei won the ultimate prize of Shs360m ($100,000) for his Smart Electro-Mechanical Actuator Journal Integrated Bearing (SEMAJIB), a world-class solution that supports energy generating turbines and can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs of generating energy in Africa.
Ms Makobore is currently the department head of the Instrumentation Division at UIRI. She graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with a BSc in Electrical Engineering in 2008.
She briefly worked at MTN from 2009 to 2010 as an intern telecommunications engineer and thereafter sales engineer before venturing into electronics applications design and development at UIRI in early 2011.
She leads a team which comprises electrical and computer engineers that design and develop electronic applications for healthcare, agriculture and energy. To date the division’s portfolio has more than seven projects which she supervises, with three medical device prototypes in their advanced stages.