As more innovations are being done to facilitate the fight against the spread of covid-19, the Makerere Research Innovation Fund, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and College of Health Sciences partnered with Badaye Technologies Ltd in developing a TW-20 touchless hand washing machine.
During the media engagement and handover of the touchless hand wash kits, Mulago National Referral Hospital got 2 kits while one was donated to Makerere University College of Health Sciences.
The project is funded by the government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak RIF) with a Shs 59 million budget.
The senior lecturer and principal investigator at College of Agricultural and Environmental Science Joshua Wanyama said that the TW is an acronym signifying Wouchless Wash. The 20 signifies 20 seconds which is the minimally recommended time for hand washing by the World Health Organisation.
“The touchless wash kit was purposely developed as a responsive technology to the covid-19 pandemic resulting from the need to limit contact with surfaces, while ensuring diligent hand hygiene,” he explained.
He added that Badaye Technologies Ltd, a private firm owned by Makerere alumni, embarked on the innovation when the first case of covid-19 was announced in March.
Julius Mugaga from Badaye technologies said, “The touchless hand washing kit is a smart, responsive and revolutionary technology.”
He explained that with the machine, data on hand washing can be tracked to find out the rates at which people are washing their hands. It also gives instructions in two languages; English being the default one.
Currently, 15 improved kits have already been installed in various public places in the Kampala Metropolitan Area including Makerere University, Makerere University Hospital, Mulago, Kiruddu, and Kawempe National Referral Hospitals, Nakasero Market among others.
Before handing over the kits, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof Barnabus Nawangwe said, “Makerere is no longer a haven of hooliganism, whether students or staff, but for innovations.”
He also thanked the government of Uganda and called for more support so that more kits are produced for export.
Dr Rosemary Byanyima, the Deputy Executive Director Mulago Referral Hospital received the donation. She said that currently, Mulago has over 250 Covid-19 patients and urged Ugandans to utilize such facilities and follow SOPs.
“We are in phase 3 of the pandemic, a community threat. I am glad that we are one of the beneficiaries to this innovation. This donation will help us in infection prevention and control,” she said.
Prof Waiswa Gonzaga received the donation for the College of Health Sciences, revealing that the college didn’t have a unit, yet the some students are undertaking their exams.
Wanyama said that the kits have been at Shs 1.6m but after commercialisation, each will cost Shs 800,000.