KAMPALA – The Africa Centre of Excellence for Materials, Product Development & Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO ACE) established at the College of Engineering, Design, Art, and Technology at Makerere University, has developed a self-sanitising facemask with an inbuilt sanitiser, allowing for real-time disinfection while at work.
The center developed the sanitizer in partnership with CODEK Engineering Ltd, a private partner.
“The logistics challenge of protective gears compounded by lack of efficient masks requires the need for reusable masks; therefore this mask can abet the logistics challenge of face masks since it is reusable, and also minimizes the rate of health worker hospital-acquired infection since it allows for frequent sanitisation,” said Mr. Brian Mujuni, the Center Manager, MAPRONANO.
The prototype was developed in three days, and there will be further modifications before the product can be released onto the market.
Similarly, a researcher at Northwestern University in the USA is developing a self-sanitising medical face mask with inbuilt anti-viral chemicals that deactivate viruses on contact.
CODEK is also involved in the product design and testing of the newly developed public pedal sanitiser.
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MAPRONANO is also working closely with the Makerere University College of Health Sciences to develop sanitisers. Another private partner, Ryatumwa Enterprise, is involved in the sourcing for raw materials and in the production of sanitisers. The sanitisers have already undertaken the required tests at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS). As a result at least 1,000 litres of the Covi-Mak sanitiser are already on the Ugandan market. The sanitiser is now in the final stages of certification.
In the prevailing ‘stay at home’ directives, the researchers working on these products were given permits to enable them to move as essential workers.
The funding for these ventures is jointly supported by MAPRONANO ACE with cost matching from the private partners. The Center is also soliciting funding from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science & Technology, and venture capitalists.
MAPRONANO ACE is one of the 24 Africa Centers of Excellence participating in the Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Project (ACE II). The ACE II is financed by the World Bank. Each of these 24 specialised regional centres’ received a grant of up to US$6 million to implement its proposal in a specific regional priority area. Uganda hosts four Africa Centers of Excellence.
Each ACE is tasked to develop and enhance partnerships with industry and the private sector to generate greater impact. Partnerships and active collaboration between the private sector and academic institutions are critical to finding solutions for development challenges and can result in meaningful solutions.