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School of Public Health
College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

Inside the Makerere Covid-19 Innovation activities

Posted on : Friday, April 10, 2020

Inside the Makerere Covid-19 Innovation activities

Through the Resilient Africa Network (RAN), a project of the School of Public Health, Makerere University is negotiating with the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) subsidiary, Luweero Industries, to produce massively, the Portable Hospital Version of the EpiTent.

This production will dramatically increase surge capacity for field hospital beds in the event that the local epidemic expends dramatically.

“We already have 10 orders from UPDF, 12 orders from Uganda Prisons, and up-coming orders from Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital. Makerere University is developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Luweero Industries,” says Dr. Roy William Mayega, Deputy Chief of Party.

RAN has, as a result participated in brainstorming session with a team from the UPDF Science and Technology Office to agree on minimum specifications that local manufacturers need to meet to mass produce some key Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) items specifically N95 masks, Hazmat Suits and Face Shields.

In order to implement the outcomes of this discussion, RAN has engaged a team from College of Engineering to explore different materials to use to develop a low cost Hazmat suit.

The project is coordinating a team from Makerere University and Kiira Motors to design a low cost ventilator to facilitate treatment of severe Covid-19 complications by adapting two open designs from the University of Florida and MIT.

Two prototypes will be ready by Friday February 10, 2020. Clinical care experts have been co-opted in the team to conceptualize the initial testing.

Meanwhile, RAN has also developed an integrated information Application (App) that provides comprehensive information on Covid-19. The App is sharable as a phone readable website.

On Tuesday April 7, 2020, RAN hosted a Webinar entitled: "Innovating Pandemic Threats - Case Study of Covid-19". This is the first of a 4-part series that will explore various entry points for innovating the Covid-19 response.

RAN has hosted three Covid-19 related innovation pitches from 3 individual innovator teams so far, to help them build their ideas. Pitches and co-creation support to innovators will continue via Zoom.

RAN is in discussions with UN Women to collect incident data on violence against women and girls (VAWG)/gender-based violence (GBV) during this period. We are discussing possibilities of rolling out the SAFE BANGLE innovation (developed with support from UN Women) and the CENTERS-FOR-HER WEBSITE to facilitate rapid reporting and mitigation of violence against women and girl during the lockdown. 

Developed with support from the Ministry of ICT, the ‘Akatale App’, incubated at RAN is in rapid scale mode as the need for online orders and deliveries of groceries grows due to Covid-19 lockdowns. 186 people are now subscribed to this App and the team is considering establishing its own warehouse

RootIO (an innovation incubated at RAN through support from USAID), is to expand community-led messaging behaviour change measures for prevention of Covid-19 through its network of community Radios in Northern Uganda.

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