Wekebere Innovation at the Innovate for Life Hackathon

Stephen Tashobya, one of the Innovators at Makerere University School of Public Health-ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) working on the ‘Wekebere’ Innovation participated in the Innovate for life Hackathon in Nairobi, Kenya on March 7th to 8th, 2017. Wekebere is a hand-held self-diagnostic device that will help mothers or pregnant women to monitor the state of their unborn babies irrespective of their location and without need for help of medical personnel. The device consists of a small probe and micro controller and is fabricated using locally available materials.

Innovate for Life was an active call by AMREF Health Africa to innovative teams across the globe in preparation for the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC). This call rallies innovators to participate in a two-day start-up hackathon in Nairobi, Kenya, with the purpose of developing solutions that respond to the significant challenges faced by mothers and infants across the continent. The solutions will seek to reduce the high rates of maternal and newborn deaths in Africa. This call attracted 117 applications across the globe. All applications went through a rigorous process to down select the Top 15 finalists. Alas! Wekebere Innovation emerged among the top 15 finalists. The top 15 finalists included teams from Netherlands, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. These top 15 finalists were further given an opportunity to participate in the 48 hours hackathon to aid selection of  the best three solutions.

‘During the hackathon we were availed with users (expectant mothers, acting mothers) to ensure that what we are building meets users’ needs and an expert was on standby to validate our solutions’ shared Stephen. These experts included midwives, obstetricians and Gynecologists. The Wekebere Innovation from Uganda emerged  first followed by ‘Help Mum Innovation’ from Nigeria and ‘chanjoplus’ from Kenya. ‘As winners, our solution wekebere was presented at a AHAIC conference and later Bob Collymore, the CEO Safari com handed over the certificate to us’ added an excited Stephen.

Wekebere will receive US$ 3,000 SEED funding and an opportunity to join a 3 months acceleration programme at Nailab, Nairobi Kenya.The acceleration programme will entail solution refinement, training, mentorship and scaling up support.

‘The Wekebere Innovators Team will remain forever grateful for the support from ResilientAfrica Network (RAN), Uganda Communications Commission and RUFORUM’ noted Stephen.



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