Philips UNICEFs maternal and newborn health innovations project. (Photo Courtesy: ArtMatters)
Philips UNICEFs maternal and newborn health innovations project. (Photo Courtesy: ArtMatters)

Three Ugandans, Denis Lee Oguzu, Dr Misaki Wayengera, and Wasswa William are selected among the 30 finalists in WHO’s Africa Innovation Challenge. They’re to attend Africa Health Forum in Cape Verde—where they get the chance to showcase/pitch their innovations to potential investors, attendees in the health niche.

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched the challenge as its first Africa innovation challenge in Nov. last year, calling upon innovators, researchers working on novel solutions to improve health outcomes in Africa.

According to WHO, a total of 2,471 applications were submitted from 77 countries — 44 being got from Africa. Out of the submission from Africa, 27 emerged as finalists and three from Canada, Netherlands, and UK — to sum to 30 finalists.

The challenge prioritized innovative and scalable healthcare solutions for selection in the categories of Product Innovation, Service Innovation, and Social Innovation.

“The extent of response from the Innovation Challenge affirms the enthusiasm, especially among young people, to make a difference and contribute to the health care system on the continent. Health innovators have found a new home at WHO, where their innovative ideas will be supported in partnership with our network of stakeholders,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement.

The three Ugandan finalists developed solutions; National Ambulance Services by Denis Lee Oguzu, Pan-Filovirus Rapid Diagnostic Test by Dr Misaki Wayengera, and PapES by Wasswa William.

National Ambulance Service (NAS)
NAS is a mobile, on-demand, hyper-local ambulance, police and fire service call and dispatch emergency system for Android and iOS.

The innovation aggregates various types of private and public emergency services and allows the nearest required service to be dispatched immediately to the patient at the fastest possible time.

Pan-Filovirus Rapid Diagnostic Test
The solution is premised on the identity of conserved epitopes of filovirus glycoprotein with potential for intra-genera differentiation. It has identified and patented B cell epitopes of filovirus glycoprotein.

In addtion has validated the ability of synthetic epitopes and their antibodies to capture host specific IgG responses in survivor serum and recombinant glycoprotein, respectively.

PapES
The solution has been developed for automated diagnosis and classification of cervical cancer from pap-smear images but is particularly pertinent to resource-constrained areas and could be of significant benefit to developing economies.

The tool also takes into consideration the patient’s cervical cancer risk factors. A cytopathologist analyses the patient’s cervical cancer risk factors and the tool generates a result on the possibility of cervical cancer.