By Kezia Koburungi
Three students from Kampala International University Western campus have emerged as winners in the Innovation Challenge Awards that were organised by Joint Medical stores (JMS).
Erisa Higenyi, a fourth year student of Pharmacy emerged as the overall winner and was rewarded UGX3 million and an internship placement at JMS. He innovated an ‘Automatic tablet dispenser’ which helps visually impaired patients to take their medicinecorrectly. The machine has a tablet sorting system and an alarm set to remind patients to take their medication. The other two winners were rewarded 2 million and 1 million respectively.
In June 2019, as part of its 40th anniversary celebration, JMS challenged medical studentsto develop ground breaking ideas in their inaugural Innovation Challenge Awards which was open to all medical institutions across the country.
Speaking during the handover at the JMS main offices at Nsambya, Dr. Belidad Baguma,the Executive Director noted that the competition was stiff, with over five universitiesparticipating; Makerere University, Kampala International University, Ndejje University and many more across the country.
“The aim of this competition is to offer a platform for budding medical students to showcase their innovations, get mentorship and also contribute to improving the health sector in the country. The winners will be offered jobs immediately after their studies.”
Joint Medical Stores joint company is a private-Not-For Profit (PNFP) Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which was established in 1979 as a joint venture between the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB) and the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB).
JMS procures, store and distribute medicines and other medical supplies as well as install and maintain medical equipment; apart from this, it also engages in the export, import wholesale of medicines and related health supplies.
In his speech Dr. Tusiime Jonans, the Dean School of Pharmacy at KIU congratulated Higenyi upon winning the innovation challenge. According to Dr.Tussiime, this doesn’t come as a surprise given that KIU has in the past scooped prestigious medical awards.
“In 2017, Daniel Muwanguzi won in the UTIL-Price challenge. The second award to be scooped was the HB Drug Applicator Award, and here, four students from KIU participated; the colleague emerged 1st and 3rd where they got two of the top three awards. The third runner up was Higenyi. We are very proud of our students and we know they are bound for great things.”
In his remarks, Higenyi said, “I thank the management of JMS for the reward and also the KIU Academic staff for supporting and mentoring me. I am so elated.”