A child’s dream becomes engineering reality
Enock Musasizi, engineer at Noor Medical, grew up in a village in Uganda and first moved to the city for his studies. It was there in Kampala where, on a scholarship from the government provided for the best students, he studied mechanical engineering at Makerere University. Currently, Enock is a trainer at Vivo energy where he supervises the business and trains the technical representatives. On the side, he follows his passion for finding engineering solutions to local problems and runs a workshop during the evenings after work with a team of young people from the surrounding area.
“Our mission is to use our engineering to help somebody who is suffering somewhere” (Enock Musasizi).
The idea for developing medical solutions for his community developed from an early age. Enock describes how they used to sterilize injections in his village. After receiving an injection he was told to take the injection back home, boil it and bring it back to the clinic the next day to receive the second dose.
“We used to take these injections, and [then] we were always told: you go and cook this injection and then bring it back because they are reusable injections. Now, that was completely a hassle because at some point, probably it has rained and you cannot make fire”(Enock Musasizi).
Later in life Enock realized that it is not possible to achieve proper sterilization by boiling water in an open space because you cannot exceed temperatures of 100 degrees “[…] meaning actually what we were using that time was actually not sterilized because we did not have the right temperatures and pressures” (Enock Musasizi).
Enock started thinking about how this problem could be tackled. First thinking of an electrical solution, he quickly realized such an option would only work in Kampala where access to electricity is not a problem. In the regions surrounding Kampala however, the lack of electricity poses a considerable challenge to the sterilization of medical equipment.
“ […] in Kampala where we have plenty of electricity, 24/7. But away of Kampala, like […] deep in the village where I grew up where we could actually experience like a week without electricity […]. Meaning, It had to be solar” (Enock Musasizi).
The idea of collecting solar energy in order to generate heat and steam stems from his childhood experience when he was experimenting with concave lenses and starting small fires with dry leaves. He used this experiential knowledge with a bit of physics, learned at University, to correct the right waves and focus them on a focus point. These childhood experiences are the reason why he used a solar collecting dish instead of using solar panels and batteries.
With the current solar-thermal hybrid autoclave prototype, sufficient sterilization temperature and pressure can be reached and maintained using solar energy. Other energy inputs, such as electricity, come in as backup functions.
In regards to Noor Medical’s continued research and development, Enock states:
“ […] we are looking at how best can we have a machine with […] a big range of energy that it can use. So if we have solar and electricity maybe another energy source […] it can suit people in the city and it can suit people in the village”
Enock has conducted extensive technical testing of the first two prototype iterations which have produced exciting results:
“I can confirm now, that [the hybrid autoclave reaches] the right values of temperature and pressure that are suitable for sterilization using only solar within 30–40 minutes, [and] with electricity it could go down [to] 10–30 minutes […] because electricity is much more powerful […].”
Since bringing Enock onto the team, Noor Medical has worked to improve the prototype, conduct biological testing and work towards the vision to improve humanity’s access to equitable healthcare via engineering solutions adapted to local needs in Uganda and other areas of the world that face similar challenges.
Noor Medical is thrilled to have Enock on our engineering team, and believe together we can see his dream of providing medical solutions to rural healthcare clinics come to fruition.
We highly appreciate any support during our journey. We recently started a crowdfunding campaign to finance our field trials. If you would like to contribute to achieve our vision of improving humanity’s access to equitable healthcare please consider supporting us here.