Enock Musasizi, an engineer in Uganda, joins the “Noor Medical family”
In December 2017 the Noor Medical Team developed the vision to improve humanity’s access to equitable healthcare via the development of hybrid autoclaves. During that process, Saji Zagha, CMO at Noor Medical, spotted a video on Youtube of Enock Musasizi explaining his solar collector prototype for steam generation which he designed during his time at University.
Seeing an opportunity to collaborate, Saji quickly contacted him on Whatsapp and set up a Skype Call between the Co-founders of Noor Medical and Enock, our Ugandan engineer. We exchanged ideas, talked about the underlying challenge in the health care sector in the Global South and the current status of our work.
More recently, Laila Berning interviewed Enock to learn more about why he joined the Noor Medical team and what he hopes for the future.
Enock, why did you join the Noor Medical Team?
“Oh now this is something interesting. To me, I take it as a dream coming true, or I would actually say, something that is god given.”
We are very glad that Enock shares our vision and joined the Noor Medical team. Together with him Noor Medical works to improve the hybrid autoclave and makes it ready for the biological testing.
During the interview Enock elaborated on some of his past struggles pushing his original idea further for a hybrid autoclave device. Funding was one big issue. “I was stuck and couldn’t do anything” he explains. Labour and material costs presented one barrier, as did the necessary time and network to reach out to healthcare clinics for testing. Eventually, Enock decided to pause his project ambitions and began working for Vivo energy to save funds for research and development opportunities in the future. Meanwhile, he got the idea to create a video to share on Youtube in order to connect with other interested engineers.
“What was the impetus for that?” Laila asked.
“Maybe somebody out there, would be like: why don’t I join with this Enock and we push this further“ replied Enock with enthusiasm.
This is how Saji Zagha found out about Enock. He contacted Enock and, in Enock’s words: “ […] by good luck his interest was just connected to the way […] I was interested in pushing this product […] it was like a dream coming true that what I thought that one day somebody […] who has this same way of thinking will get connected to me and we push this thing to help people out there.”
Saji soon introduced Enock to the rest of the Noor Medical team, setting forth the months of collaboration that would follow. Enock expresses: “ The best way I can have my dream coming true is to join Noor Medical, help me push this thing and my happiness will be if one day somebody out there is testifying that this product is absolutely helpful to communities.”
Enock’s vision for Noor Medical is to produce equipment that “are so […] important on this planet, [especially] in Africa” (Enock Musasizi) and explains that the hybrid autoclaves are needed beyond doubt.
Originally spurred on by research he conducted regarding the health care sector in Uganda, Enock found that, in regards to sterilizing medical instruments, clinics face three major challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. Firstly, the sterilization of medical instruments is particularly challenging in rural areas that are not connected to electricity.
“ […] being off grid, at night, people move with candles to light around and all that, it was really a struggle […] most of our health centers, they are off grid and they are doing some surgeries, though they are minor surgeries, but still we need to do it in a safe way” (Enock Musasizi).
It’s not only medical equipment that’s used for treating patients which must be sterilized properly, but also the equipment destined for disposal which needs to be made safe. Enock explains how used material is often thrown into public — which poses a particular risk for children.
Enock reiterates the importance of this last point, “And remember that these stubborn kids are going to come and play around with this equipment.”
It is thus not only necessary to sterilize the medical instruments that are utilized but also equipment such as needles which need to be disposed of safely (e.g., by sterilizing them to rid them of bacteria). See our article on the SDGs for more on this sanitation aspect.
The access to equipment, drugs and medical devices is another major challenge that the healthcare sector in Uganda faces — resulting in a lower quality of treatment. Additionally, the medical labour force is low so that sometimes only one doctor can be found per hospital. Enock’s dream is that one day the ministry gets engaged so that every clinic or hospital is required to have an autoclave by law in order to operate.
Soon the German-based Noor Medical team will head to Uganda to begin field testing and aid Enock in implementing prototype upgrades and biological testing.
“I would be excited to meet you people, like Federico, Saji, Laila I will be excited, we meet as I call it the Noor Medical family, and probably we are seated somewhere and we are talking about how best we can push the product, what we can change these days.” (Enock Musasizi)
The Noor Medical team shares this wish and is excited to send Federico or Saji soon to Uganda to help Enock improve the prototype in order to make it ready for biological testing.
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