By John Nanyumba
Everything is set for the 5th Medical Technology Hack-a-thon, Red Pepper exclusively reveals.
Themed: ‘Innovating to improve new-born and maternal health, the event will be hosted by Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech).
According to CAMTech Uganda Research and Grants Development Officer, Nuriat Nambogo the annual hackathon is a 48 hour event that normally runs from Saturday to Sunday. During this event, ideas are pitched, multi-disciplinary teams formed, solutions (viable prototypes) and business models developed and presented on Sunday to a panel of judges. Monetary awards are given to the winning teams in order to hasten the development process and bring the innovation to market in the shortest time. Nambogo further noted that the hackathon also brings mentors with vast experience in their respective disciplines like health, engineering, business etc that guide the innovator through the event life time.
The hackathon attendees come from different parts of the world including Asia, Europe, USA and Africa with the biggest proportion from Uganda. The solutions developed address local challenges that are faced by clinicians in performing their work.
Participants will work around the clock to identify clinical challenges related to newborn and maternal health, form multi-disciplinary teams, prototype solutions and develop business models before presenting their ideas to an expert panel of judges reflecting CAMTech’s crosssector approach to innovation.
“The mission of CAMTech is to build entrepreneurial capacity and accelerate medical technology innovations to improve health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries like Uganda. MUST and CAMTech Uganda’s innovation ecosystem located at MUST already has a portfolio of over 20 innovative projects at different stages of the product development and commercialization pathway,” Nambogo noted. This ecosystem has created some of Mbarara University’s first intellectual property and is spurring technologies that are sourced by local innovators and already three start ups have been born out of this ecosystem.
The Young Engineers managing director (also Red Pepper’s advertising director), Arinaitwe Rugyendo will among many others, like Mbarara Referal Hospital’s Sheila Bagaya, Ishaka Hospital’s Martine Mukama, Suzan Mbabazi (Holy Innocents Children hosp), Alfred Agaba (Itojo Hosp), CAMTech country director-Dr. Santorino Data, grace the event.
With support from Massachusetts General Hospital Global Health, RENU and the Uganda Communications Commission, CAMTech UGANDA organized the annual hack-a-thon to develop disruptive innovations that have the potential to achieve widespread public health impact. Prior to the hack-a-thon, CAMTech UGANDA will host a Clinical Summit on 25 August, featuring panel discussions with community health workers, midwives, nurses, pediatricians and obstetricians. Additionally, CAMTech UGANDA will organize visits to local clinical sites where participants can hear directly from healthcare workers about the challenges they face in delivering neonatal and maternal healthcare services. CAMTech UGANDA will award the 2017 hack-a-thon winners over $2,000 USD ($6,702,400 UGX) in prize money.