Last week, Turyabagye Brian’s innovation, MamaOpe – a Pneumonia diagnosis kit, won the [email protected] competition in the UK. This was on the back of the startup being named among five African inventions to look out for in 2017 by BBC.
We thought it wise to get in touch with Brian to get a better understanding of MamaOpe, his team, future plans and his views about the Ugandan startup ecosystem. Brian is quite an interesting and informed fellow.
Details to follow… pic.twitter.com/J2KmdZKQrY
— StartupDigestAfrica (@DigestAfrica) March 30, 2017
Here is the conversation that he had with our Team Leader, Malinz. Enjoy the reading!
Q:Tell me about MamaOPe in 2–5 words?
A Pneumonia diagnosis kit.
Q: Why is now the time for MamaOpe to exist?
We noticed a worrying trend in the mortality rates which prompted us to design a solution that can offer hope to our mother, by saving millions of African children from avoidable deaths caused by Pneumonia.
Q: At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your metrics? And how far have you gone in achieving them?
We are currently measuring our success by the sustainability and the number of strong partnerships (that will convert into bookings for the kit) i.e. eventual customers.
We have so far managed to make partnerships with international health based organisations that are committed to buying this kit and have it distributed in most remote communities where they have strong presence.
And the quality of the team working on this is very strong with proven records of achieving the set milestones for this project, which is an assurance that we will hit the market with a perfect product in the set timelines.
Q: Talking about International Organizations, does that mean those are your main target market?
Yes.The reason we are targeting them is that they’re already doing community work/projects across several African countries. Therefore engaging them will easily create impact for us across other African countries. But still, we are looking at pharmacies as private partners.
Q: So this is a re-usable Kit?
Yes, definitely. The way we design the material it can be easily wiped.
Q: Hasn’t anyone around the world come up with a similar idea?
Not one that i know of. But of course as time goes, competition comes up. People will try to come up with something similar.
Q: Which country in Africa has the highest rates that you’d like to tap in first?
Tanzania, Nigeria and Niger. They’re one of the top 10 in the world. Actually out of the top 10 countries in the world, Africa has 7. The prevalence rate is very high in Africa and South America.
Q: In a few sentences, what do you offer to whom? And who else is trying to do it? Why do you think you’re better?
We are designing a bio-medical smart jacket that aids in fast diagnosis and monitoring of child Pneumonia patients. This can be used in remote health centres, families, clinics and hospitals at large.
Currently health workers use an ARI timer from UNICEF. This is a good tool to use to diagnose the disease but the manual operation mechanism associated with it doesn’t considerably reduce the time spent in diagnosing the disease.
For health centres with big numbers, a health worker can easily confuse the counts from this device which increases the margin for human error.Q
Q: What’s most exciting about your traction/successes to date?
The most exciting thing has been the great support we have obtained from the global communities in regard to developing this solution.
We have been able to get various partners willing to assist in one way or the other just to ensure that this solution comes to the market to save another generation of our children.
— The Duke of York (@TheDukeOfYork) March 20, 2017