34 African Innovators join the AfOx-Health Innovation Platform

The AfOx-Health Innovation Platform is empowering Innovators to develop entrepreneurial skills to strengthen healthcare systems. Representing 12 nationalities, 34 innovators are tackling health challenges ranging from detection and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases to streamlining health systems for better access to care.   

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The AfOx-Health Innovation Platform supports African innovators turn their ideas into impact-led solutions which tackle Africa’s health challenges. Launched in February 2021, the AfOx-Health Innovation Platform connects research to industry enabling African innovators to develop novel solutions through the co-development of innovator-entrepreneurial skills.

This year 34 exceptional innovators were selected for the AfOx Innovation and Entrepreneurship Scheme from a competitive pool of 403 applicants. The scheme offers a virtual programme supporting participants to develop their skills in innovation and Entrepreneurship and tackle health challenges in Africa. Created and curated specifically for the Africa context, the programme has been developed with support from academics, change leaders and other key players in industry and government. Expertise is provided across geographical boundaries, disciplines, and business sectors.

The training aims to equip participants with key skills to successfully navigate their own entrepreneurial journey. It provides participants with the skills to go from the development of ideas, through the understanding of the core entrepreneurial abilities required to succeed, to launching a venture. The scheme helps participants position themselves in order to realise their full potential and broaden their impact as innovator-entrepreneurs.

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Representing 12 nationalities, the 34 innovators are tackling health challenges ranging from detection and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases to streamlining health systems for better access to care.  They are developing new solutions (including diagnostics, devices, digital technologies, vaccines and therapeutics) to improve health outcomes in Africa. 

I am blown away by the commitment, creativity, determination and collaborative approach to engagement. Fellows are making the most out of the facilitated training to draw practical lessons and build them into their own ventures”
Watu Wamae (PhD), AfOx Health Innovation Platform lead

Venture building is a core component of the virtual programme. The selected innovators are actively embedding what they learn within their own entrepreneurial activity from the outset, building in lessons from the programme. The programme consists of modules on business strategy; interactive workshops on inter-personal skills including networking, negotiation and leadership and; asynchronous learning on foundational aspects of responsible innovation.

Central to the programme is an emphasis on facilitated engagement. The programme provides a micro-learning environment, in which knowledge is co-created; peer to peer learning is supported to empower participants to translate their experiences and knowledge into practical ways of addressing some of the pressing health challenges in Africa.

One of the most striking aspects is the spontaneity with which they have created a truly unique microcosm of an innovation ecosystem for knowledge creation and integration. They are using their varied multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional expertise for co-creating knowledge and peer to peer learning. The fact that all this is grounded in practical experiences of the contexts that their health solutions are targeting makes the whole experience particularly meaningful and potent."
Watu Wamae

The AfOx Health Innovation Platform takes a holistic approach to supporting outstanding African innovator-entrepreneurs. At the end of the 16-week course, innovators whose projects have the greatest potential for further development will be awarded AfOx Innovation Visiting Fellowships and receive personalised support in Oxford. The fellowship will be tailored to meet their specific needs for mentorship as well as technical and collaborative support.

The AfOx Health Innovation Platform is a collaboration between AfOx and key partners including, Grand Challenges Africa at the African Academy of Sciences, The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford Foundry, TORCH, the Said Business School Africa Initiative and Reuben College, Oxford.

Devices

Conrad Tumwine

Conrad is a medical doctor (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, MSc Public Health) currently working in clinical research. He is developing a non-invasive and portable device that simultaneously measures maternal contractions and the fetal heart of a baby to predict complications such as fetal distress, premature rupture of membranes and obstructed labour. The device informs mothers of their pregnancy progress and fetal wellbeing during ANC (antenatal care visits) helping to promote the father’s involvement. Information is relayed to user’s mobile phones via short wave Bluetooth connections.

Stephen Tashobya

Stephen holds an MSc. in Engineering and received a Royal Academy of Engineering, Frontiers of Engineering for Development award in 2019. Stephen is developing a 3-in-1 wearable device integrating continuous monitoring of fetal heart rate, fetal movement, and uterine contraction. It integrates a local centralised monitoring system that extends care beyond hospitals to allow access to expectant mothers in hard-to-reach areas. He is the Founder and CEO of Wekebere Company limited, a social enterprise developing health solutions.

Emmanuel Egbroko

Emmanuel is a pharmacist (Pharm. D) passionate about combating infectious diseases in Africa.  He is working on a hand sanitiser device in the form of a wristband. Emmanuel set up Inocul8 the first mobile on demand vaccination service that leverages technology to increase access to vaccination in Nigeria, which was rated top 50 youth solutions in the United Nations SDSN Youth Solutions Report 2019.

Clivate Maiba

Clivate is an experienced clinician in chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. He is developing a wearable device connected to a mobile application that detects blood pressure in real time and alerts the physician if the patient’s blood pressure is spiking. Clivate is passionate about health promotion, disease prevention and digital healthcare and is co-founder and Chief Operations Director of Health Literacy Zambia, a non-profit organisation that aims at promoting health education and practices in vulnerable communities.

Ian Ochieng

Ian is an electrical and telecommunication engineer (B. Eng) with an interest in rapid embedded system prototyping. He is developing a diabetes management system that encompasses a meter with transmitting capability that measures glucose and ketones in the blood; glucose and ketone strips; and an application software platform that will link patients with a medical specialist. Ian is founder of Obium Core Limited, that creates custom-based solutions tailored to solve problem that are not be fully addressed by a global product or service.

John Bosco Kalule

John is a veterinary doctor and environmental microbiologist (PhD in Microbiology and M. Med. Microbiology). He has an interest in the application of one health approaches to investigate foodborne pathogens. John Bosco is developing a point-of-care DNA based device for the co-detection of S.Typhi and S.Paratyphi in surface water and blood of acute febrile patients in typhoid outbreak-prone regions in Africa.

Okumu Odhiambo

Okumu is a medical doctor (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery). His main area of interest is respiratory diseases, and particularly Neonatal Pneumonia. Okumu is developing a preterm monitoring device to improve the care of neonates admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The device will predict and promptly detect respiratory failure. Its ability to accurately assess lung function thus predicting, rather than merely reporting respiratory events is central to the innovation.

Diagnostics

Masauso Phiri

Masauso is a postdoctoral fellow in enteric diseases research (PhD in Biochemistry) and has specialist knowledge in designing and developing biosensors using nanotechnology as a platform for signal production. He is developing a sensitive and specific field-deployable lateral flow diagnostic tool that will allow the quick detection of Salmonella typhi in children. Masauso is passionate about reducing the burden of enteric diseases by developing diagnostic tests and vaccines.

Elsie Kaaya

Elsie holds an MSc in Information and Communication Science and Engineering and specialises in Natural Language Processing and Predictive Analysis. She is developing a system which will enable the early diagnosis of pregnancy complications thus supporting the provision of self-care for pregnant mothers. Elise is passionate about creating practical solutions to real life problems and has developed a system for simplifying blood donations, an Intelligent real-time embedded system to improve the quality of security in confidential spaces and an application to help children learn basic mathematics.

Elizabeth Mutua

Elizabeth is a computer scientist with an MSc in Information Technology Management. She is developing a diagnostic tool to support clinicians in screening for Retinopathy of Prematurity symptoms among newborns. Difficulties in screening symptoms in neonates and accessing neonate eye-specialists causes delays, which can lead to blindness.  Elizabeth is founder of Joasher Technologies that provides young girls from rural areas who have a passion in information Technology with innovation skills.

Aanuoluwapo Adu

Aanuoluwapo holds an MSc in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She is developing an online mental health assessment and diagnostic tool that links patients with certified mental health professionals.  The solution is targeted at both patients and the mental health professionals. It also makes it possible for an employer who is concerned about an employee’s mental health to signpost them for professional care.

Harry Akligoh

Harry is a molecular biologist and holds an MPhil in Molecular Medicine. He is developing a multiplex PCR diagnostic assay for detecting four prevalent infectious diseases using locally produced off-patent enzymes. Harry is passionate about the local production of affordable reagents to improve access to diagnostic kits and the quality of diagnostic care in communities. Harry is co-founder of Hive Biolab in Ghana in collaboration with the Open Bioeconomy Lab at the University of Cambridge.

Conrad Tankou

Conrad is a medical doctor (Bachelor of Medicine). He is developing a cervical cancer diagnostic tool that combines telemedicine, a novel smart speculum, and a smartphone microscopy. A smart speculum design houses an endoscope camera which is connected to a smartphone to enable images of the cervix to be clearly captured after easy visualisation. Conrad is founder of GIC Space, a health innovation maker space, and co-founder of GiftedMom an mHealth startup.

Digital technologies

Jemimah Kariuki

Jemimah is a medical doctor and currently pursuing an MSc in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is developing a digital platform for pregnancy-related emergencies. The platform integrates call centre services, triage, teleconsultation with volunteer postgrad doctors and geo-location which enables transport to a health facility. It also has an embedded data protection and patient safety system. Jemimah is founder of Wheels for Life, setup at peak of Covid-19 which was indirectly driving maternal deaths through delayed access to healthcare. She was awarded the World Health Organisation Director General Award 2021 for her contribution to improved maternal health.

Jean Paul Ndayizeye

Jean Paul is a medical doctor and currently finalising an MSc in Public Health. He is developing a digital platform for connecting health facilities and community-based health workers for effective communication and tracking of pregnant mothers with pre-eclampsia, a leading cause of maternal mortality. The platform will also offer virtual training and mentorship for community health workers and traditional birth attendants to improve quality of care. Jean Paul is founder of Rwanda Youth Voice for Change, an organization that targets young people to improve their sexual and reproductive health and rights services.

Matthew Potter

Matthew is a medical doctor (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, MBChB). He is developing digital tools to improve medication adherence and patient compliance. The focus is on management and support of chronic medication users through nudges and gamification. Matthew is founder of TRxEAT, a start-up which promotes chronic medication adherence and access to personalised, affordable health financing. He has a passion for innovative approaches to health system strengthening through inclusive, technology-enabled solutions to healthcare.

Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson

Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson hold a BSc in Biochemistry. She is developing a sample self-collection kit (with medical scientists and product designers) that is at the prototype stage to perfect the ease of collection, labelling requirements, logistics tracking and regulatory standardisation. Ifeoluwa is founder of Healthtracka, a digital health platform that makes medical diagnostics for at home-lab testing accessible. It offers at home health tests for cancer screening, kidney function and STIs - digital results are made available to patients within 1-3 days.

Blandine Umuziranenge

Blandine has postgraduate training in social innovation management and holds a BSc in Business Information and Communication Technology. She is developing a mobile app which provides resources for mothers during pregnancy and the first 1000 days of their baby’s life.  It offers a platform for women to interact and access maternity and nursing support. Blandine is founder of Kosmotive, a social enterprise that focuses on improving reproductive, maternal and child health.

James Lutaaya

James is a medical scientist and hold a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science. He is developing a telemedicine platform that has a registry of certified doctors and specialists. The platform connects patients to doctors and specialists to allow easier access to primary healthcare in hard-to-reach places and to enable payment for products and services. James is the Founder of MedicalShed, a digital health solution that enables rural communities, refugees and their host communities to access specialised healthcare.

Kahabi Isangula

Kahabi is a medical doctor and holds a PhD in Public Health and Community Medicine and an MSc in Public Health. He is developing a smartphone application to facilitate nurses’ engagement with antenatal care patients and to support patient registration, pregnancy progress tracking, emergency reporting and/or response, health awareness/education outreach. Kahabi is founder of Inspire Dispensary, that provides access to reproductive and child health services in rural communities.

Loatile Nkala

Loatile is a legal advisor and holds a Bachelor of Law (LLB) and a postgraduate certificate in Health Informatics. She is developing a mobile application to ease patient access to doctors (live video or messenger chat), medication (e-prescription, online payment and delivery to patients) and patient tracking and monitoring by doctors. Loatile is co-founder of Doctors E-Consult.

Martin Kiyeng

Martin holds a BSc in Computer Applied Technology.  He is developing a digital platform that connects surplus unopened, unexpired medicines and medical supplies to distributors and wholesalers with retail, pharmacies, and health facilities. It provides a service for redistribution of unsold saleable medicines and medical supplies and acts as a last stop in the supply chain before final disposition, in a safe, secure and reliable manner. Martin is co-founder of Surplus Med a surplus market matchmaking digital platform.

Philip Lugoloobi

Philip is completing his medical studies (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery). He is developing a digital solution that reduces delays in accessing blood supplies at health facilities. It automatically and accurately estimates the minimum blood requirements for health facilities, monitors blood use in real-time, reports pending blood shortages to the regional blood-bank before the actual disastrous blood shortages. The innovation is not dependent on internet coverage. Philip is founder of the Blood Alarm System aimed at ensuring availability of blood and its components in health facilities and their appropriate use by health workers.

Restituter Kingili

Restituter holds a BSc in Information Technology and is completing an MSc in Information Systems and Network Security. She is developing a mobile application for access to maternal healthcare information during pregnancy and after by illiterate pregnant mothers in rural and remote areas. It is based on Interactive Voice Response technologies and does not require access to smart phones. The app will connect healthcare workers and pregnant mothers for healthcare support.

Richard Seshie

Richard holds a BA in Geography (Population Studies) and has postgraduate training in data analytics. He is developing a platform that provides access to GP consultations and follow up doctor visit to patients where face to face healthcare is required. It also aims to reduce patient wait times. The solution is based on partnerships with hospitals. It has an integrated, easy to use and accessible appointment booking mobile money payment system. Richard is founder of Allo Sante, a digital-based doctor chat and hospital booking platform for the urban poor.

Samuel Mugisha

Samuel is a computer scientist (MSc in Advanced Computer Science and BSc in Computer Engineering) and holds an MA in Business Administration. He is developing a mobile app ‘Tatu Nurse’ for efficient bedside patient monitoring by providing nurses with the right information at the right time so they can act promptly and save lives. ‘Tatu Nurse’ does not require internet for operation making it usable in resource poor settings. Samuel is cofounder of ‘Tatu Nurse’.

Tafadzwa Munzwa

Tafadzwa holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB). He is developing a digital health platform ‘Dawa Health’ that provides pregnant and nursing mothers with access to maternal healthcare. It offers information and guidance for monitoring pregnancy risks like pregnancy-induced blood pressure, diabetes, urinary tract infections. Mothers also receive digital ultrasound scans through the platform. The platform is embedded within a network of health agents who act as last-mile health delivery points for low-income peri-urban and rural mothers. Tafadzwa is the co-founder of ‘Dawa Health’.

Tanya Maringo

Tanya holds a BA in Psychology and has postgraduate training in emergency humanitarian operations. She is developing a virtual-learning platform for untrained mental health workers to increase and extend expert mental health service provision to patients in marginalised areas. The platform helps limit human rights violation that can be inadvertently perpetrated by untrained providers. The platform will also connect trainee mental health workers with certified health service providers for digital referrals and access patients. Tanya is founder of Blink International, a social enterprise that connects vulnerable groups to essential mental health services.

Shey Vitalis Mbunkur

Shey Vitalis holds a BA of Engineering in Fashion Designing and a BA in History (International Relations). He is developing a marketplace platform ‘Pharmafast’ that will partner with certified pharmacies to improve access to government approved quality medicines for patients. It helps patients avoid counterfeit medicine and will include digitalised prescription, customer engagement with health experts and customer support for tracking purposes and delivery. Shey Vitalis founder of Better Future for All Association, a Youth-led social enterprise that promotes youth entrepreneurship and problem-solving.

Harry Teifel

Harry is an Industrial Engineer and certified IBM consultant. He also holds a PhD in Commerce. Harry is passionate about the conversion of innovation to real MedTech solutions through digitally enabled collaboration of various role-players along the product development life cycle. He is using a Systems Thinking approach to creating a data-intensive collaborative platform which is based on social media principles and powered by Machine Learning. Once the connections are made, parties can exchange data and have a common view of product status and collaborate technically.

Therapeutics

Ndivhuwo Shumbula

Ndivhuwo is developing a nanotechnology based advance wound dressing involving the use of metal nanoparticles and biodegradable polymers composites that have antimicrobial properties. He is working on designing antimicrobial active scaffolds with wound healing properties to solve problems associated with deep chronic wounds. Ndivhuwo is also finalising a PhD project specialising in the fabrication of biomaterials for advanced wound healing.

Vaccines

Cornelius Ssemakalu

Cornelius is a senior researcher in Cell Biology and holds a Doctor of Technology (PhD) in Chemistry. He is developing an integrated bioreactor comprising of both photonics and Artificial Intelligence modules that deliver a quality whole-cell inactivated vaccine. Cornelius is co-founder of Iraka Biotech, which aims to use a green and clean process to make quality vaccines affordable and reliably accessible to farmers, pet owners and veterinarians. As Chief Scientific Officer, he is responsible for the development and optimisation of their vaccine platform technology.

Other technologies

Kunashe Manyame

Kunashe is a visual communications designer-researcher and holds an M.A. in Graphic Design. She is developing a communication kit with a set of tools designed to aid health professionals to sensitively detect psychological, physical, psychosocial and socio-economic risk factors affecting teenagers during antenatal care check-ups. The set of tools create a time-effective, empathic, intuitive, visually engaging and safe discussion space for the health professional and patient. Kunashe uses design thinking for social innovation in public healthcare with a special interest in advocating for enhanced adolescent maternal health communication.

Kutemba Ngowanyi

Kutemba holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) and a BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics. She is developing low-cost maternity furniture that can reduce obstructive labour, extensive tears leading to post-partum haemorrhage, fistula and maternal mortality. The design of the furniture re-conforms the structure of the pelvis so that birthing can occur using natural gravity (most women especially in rural parts of Africa have smaller pelvic shapes due to malnutrition and underage pregnancies). The innovation will reduce chances of prolonged labour, vaginal tears, episiotomies and to some extent emergency caesarean section.