Event Report: Special Conference “The Expected Role of Startups from Medical School in Republic of Malawi”
In the evening of February 20th 2020, at Kitazato Auditorium in Keio University, Tokyo, we held the special conference, titled “The Expected Role of Startups from Medical School in Republic of Malawi”, with special guest from Malawi, Dr Khumbo Kalua, one of the leading ophthalmologists in the country.
We OUI Inc. are the Japanese startup founded by ophthalmologists in Keio Medical School, aiming to overcome blindness worldwide. Our device, Smart Eye Camera (SEC), is a smart phone attachment that can record and evaluate ophthalmological images and video to diagnose diseases of anterior part of eye anywhere.
With its portability and easiness to handle, we consider that SEC has large potential in the rural areas of developing countries, where the residents are suffering from difficulty in access to medical services and facilities.
SEC is already successfully used in various medical scenes in Japan, Vietnam, Mongolia and Zambia.
Last year, we undertook pilot test of SEC in Republic of Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, with great support of collaboration of Dr. Khumbo Kalua; the main guest of this conference.
Dr. Khumbo Kalua has dedicated himself in prevention and control of blindness of the rural residents in Malawi suffering from severe difficulty in access to the eye health services. He is one of the only 14 ophthalmologists in Malawi, while the population of Malawi reaches 18 million.
He founded a NPO, Blantyre Institute for Community Outreach (BICO), providing training of medical staffs and eye-care programs to the rural citizens, through collaboration with many organizations and foundations all over the world.
For further information about activities of BICO, please check the Youtube movie!
Dr. Khumbo grew in the large poor family in Malawi. After graduating from University of Malawi, he was selected to study Medicine in Australia with scholarship of United Nations, where he completed MD. After completed 4 year residency Fellowship Program as ophthalmology in Kenya, he came back to Malawi as ophthalmologist. At that time, including him, there were only 4 ophthalmologists in the country.
He kept on operating cataract surgery (about 1,000cases per year) for several years, through which he learned the necessity to approach differently to make a difference in the country.
After finishing Ph.D. of public health in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Disease, he founded BICO.
Dr. Kalua was even honored by the Queen Elizabeth on October 2019. He stated in the conference that “I have never expected to be honored by the Queen in my life. The most important thing is to go forward, which sometimes brings us the future beyond imagination.”
He also mentioned about the collaboration with OUI Inc. Our going-forward actions made it possible invite him to Japan all the way from Malawi and undertake this conference. He expressed his hope that our collaboration with BICO would result in the something beyond imagination in the future!
His values for proceeding his activities, shared in the conference as below, really inspired us!
The conference also introduced international cooperation activities and programs for promoting entrepreneurship of Keio University School of Medicine.
Dr. Masato YASUI from Department of Pharmacology introduced the activities of Keio Students’ Initiative on Healthcare in Africa, founded in 2011. He founded the initiative to spread the concept of “Science without borders” to the students.
Ms. Kaori KATSUMATA, student of School of Medicine and a member of the Initiative introduced her experience through the latest project of the Initiative in Zambia.
Following their presentations, Mr. Naoto SUGIYAMA, General Creative Manager from Office for Open Innovation, introduced the programs and activities of to support and promote the entrepreneurship and foundation of startups from Keio University.
Also, Dr. Komei FUKUSHIM, CEO of K Pharma Inc., one of the successful startups from Keio University School of Medicine, shared the challenges and achievements of K Pharma Inc. so far and the future prospect.
After the presentations and speeches, we had discussion session between audience and the speakers.
In the conference room, we organized touch & try space of SEC for audience. Many audiences visited the space and tried our devices on their hand!!!
Through this conference, we again confirmed the large potential of what OUI Inc. can do to combat blindness worldwide.
We keep on going forward and further with collaboration with anyone who shared the same values with us!
If you are interested in collaborating with us, please contact pr＠ouiinc.jp !
We are always open to be contacted!