Call for Life, one of the innovations, is a non-smartphone-based innovation that sends out automated voice calls to patients as a reminder for their medication or doctors’ appointments.
PIC: Dr Rosalind Parkes-Ratanshi explaining content using a chart during an innovations for health conference organised by the Ugandan Academy for Health Innovation and Impact at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala
By Prisca Baike
KAMPALA - Researchers have lauded socio-technological inventions as key interventions in tackling the country's heavy disease burden amidst the high patient to health worker ratios.
In a conference organised by the Ugandan Academy for Health Innovation and Impact (UAHII) at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala recently, actors showcased a variety of developments geared towards improving the accessibility and sustainability of health services.
TB and HIV targeted
The conference brought together more than 20 national and local non-governmental organisations, with both low and hi-tech innovations in various areas of health such as HIV, tuberculosis, general practice, maternal and neonatal health, among others.
The UAHII has for the past three years, spearheaded innovations to improve the health of people living with HIV and tuberculosis.
Prof. Elly Katabira, the UAHII board co-chair highlighted that over 22,000 beneficiaries and 7,000 health workers across 10 districts had been reached since its inception.
"Our projects in clinical management training and research focused on innovations for impact have reached a wide network of people in the health sector in Uganda," Katabira said .
Dr Rosalind Parkes-Ratanshi, the academy's director said their Call for Life innovation has helped HIV and TB patients adhere to their medication and hospital appointments. This, she said, would help the country achieve its goals as it inches closer to the 90 90 90 deadline.
As explained by Ratanshi, Call for Life is a non-smartphone-based innovation that sends out automated voice calls to patients as a reminder for their medication or doctors' appointments.
"Using the same interface, patients can report any new symptoms or make complaints that are then followed up by the health workers," said Ratanshi.
Speaking about innovation space for neonatology in resource-limited settings and the link to good midwifery training and practice, Dr Alex Coutinho (pictured left) the executive director, Partners in Health, Rwanda, highlighted various cost-effective lifesaving innovations the field.
Key among them was the Odon device that helps deliver babies who are stuck in the pelvis, thereby saving the mother's life and preventing C-section deliveries.
Coutinho also talked about the non-electric infant warmer, which he said is a much cheaper, yet effective alternative to costly incubators.
Talking about the artificial blood manufacturing, Coutinho said innovation and research are still going on to manufacture blood although the major challenge lies in duplicating hemoglobin, the red pigmentation in blood.
"This will prevent hemorrhagic deaths in women and solve the blood challenges facing many countries," Coutinho said.
Other inventions such as Philpa Ngaju Makobore's electronically controlled gravity feed infusion were also showcased among others.
"Innovations are there, but often we do not know about them, we do not demand them or the system fails us in terms of using them," said Coutinho, who called for a multi-sectoral cohesion to ensure the scaling of the various innovations to ultimately save lives.
The health actors called for low-tech needs-based inclusive innovations to ensure financial feasibility and accessibility to all end users so as to improve health outcomes.