A Ugandan-invented machine is saving at least 25 premature as well as critically ill babies that require an incubator in order to survive.
“We are grateful for this Ugandan-made incubator. It has spent two months here and has saved 55 babies’ lives,” Dr Geoffrey Kasirye, the officer in-charge of Mukono Health Centre IV, said on Tuesday.
Dr Kasirye said of the 700 babies born every month at the facility in Mukono Municipality, at least 25 are born pre-term and require an incubator in order to survive.
Dr Kasirye, who was speaking during an inspection tour of the incubator by Health ministry officials, said the babies are born premature because their mothers delay to go for medical check-ups.
He also said some mothers take local medicine, feed poorly, or suffer high blood pressure and other infections.
Dr Kasirye told the inspection team that before the machine was delivered, the health centre was referring the babies to Kiruddu and Kawempe, both satellite hospitals of Mulago in Kampala.
Mr Chris Nsamba, 32, the director of African Space Research Programme, which built the first African-made baby incubator, said he created the not-for-profit incubator known as SAVANT Genius in only six months to save babies.
Mr Nsamba’s neonatal intensive care unit won the 2016 best science innovation awards organised by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology.
A test run for the incubator was undertaken for almost two years before it was deployed in Mukono District.
Mr Nsamba says the government spends more than $80,000 (about Shs302m) to import the machines, yet he can build the same at only $40,000 (about Shs151m.
“My machine has been nominated for Guinness World Book of Records, it is in line for recognition as the first African-made baby incubator in the first category,” he said.
Saturday Monitor could not independently verify Mr Nsamba’s claims.
Mr Nsamba said they wish to manufacture the machines in bulk to save more pre-term babies. He said the incubators can also be remotely controlled and monitored over the internet and gives feedback in time.
Mr Nsamba said his invention is superior to any other incubators in Uganda, has more than 10 features and can accommodate three babies at once.
According to him, the machine has a system that enables it to talk in English, Kiswahili and Luganda and has an alarm that goes off to warn when a doctor is not responding in time. The incubator also has a mosquito control system, among other unique features.
“I made this machine from Ground Zero at Ntinda [Kampala]. I never assembled it, It is way more advanced than baby incubators in the world, way more automated, and it understands, it has intelligence built into it, It can talk back, and much more,” Mr Nsamba said.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine, lauded Mr Nsamba for his invention and urged to government to support Nsamba’s innovation.
“We have to look at a Ugandan scientist who sat down and thought about a comprehensive incubator to save babies with features that even conventional incubators do not have,” Dr Atwine said.