Saturday, August 26, 2017

5th CAMTech Hack-a-thon aims to improve neonatal and maternal health

By Esher Nakkazi

It all starts with an idea in your head. You are an innovator. It can be anyone because anyone can be an innovator. Teams are formed each with a clinician, engineer, entrepreneur, student and a designer. A solution to a problem that’s been bugging is pitched.

Teams have 48 hours to make their vision come true and are challenged to develop a fully functional prototype. At the end of this intense phase, a jury will award the best and most innovative products.

In other words: Welcome to the 5th CAMTech Uganda hack-a-thon happening now at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) with a theme ‘innovating to improve neonatal maternal health’.  

The three day hack-a-thon, 25-27 August has more than 250 participants who are trying to innovate to improve neonatal and maternal health for patients around the world.The winning team will take home a grand Prize: $782 USD (2,500,800 UGX), the first Runner-Up: $625 USD (2,000,000 UGX), second Runner-Up: $469 USD (1,500,800 UGX) and third Runner-Up: $219 USD (700,800 UGX)

In addition to receiving prize money, CAMTech Uganda will offer the three winning teams access to webinars and peer-to-peer learning engagements. Each winning team will also compete in a 90-day post-hack opportunity for membership in the CAMTech Accelerator Program (CAP).

Prior to the hack-a-thon, CAMTech UGANDA hosted a Clinical Summit on 25 August, featuring panel discussions with community health workers, midwives, nurses, pediatricians and obstetricians. As well, there were visits to local clinical sites where participants heard directly from healthcare workers about the challenges they face in delivering neonatal and maternal healthcare services.

Some of the clinical challenges identified were miscarriages and abortions; infertility; premature babies; malformation of the fetus; eclampsia; anaemia; malaria; poor feeding; poor structure for patient follow up; low male involvement; antenatal care ignorance; poor relationship between health workers and pregnant mothers, placental insufficiency; teenage pregnancies; poor record keep=kig in health systems.

An initiative on the CAMTech Innovation Platform, the CAP provides milestone- based funding, a CAP Coach, participation in the CAP Cohort, expert match-making and six- months of acceleration support.

CAMTech UGANDA is part of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) and is administratively housed at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST).

The Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies
(CAMTech) is a global network of academic, corporate and implementation partners based at the Massachusetts General Hospital. CAMTech's mission is to build entrepreneurial capacity and accelerate medical technology innovation to improve health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.

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.

CAMTech UGANDA is part of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) and is administratively housed at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST).

Stay tuned for more about the 5th hack-a-thon 

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