Sunday, August 13, 2017

Four Tanzanians join global innovators


By Syriacus Buguzi @buguzi

Dar es Salaam. Four Tanzanians are today joining a pool of 1,000 global innovators in Copenhagen to present their ideas on how the world can achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Three of them—Lameck Bonaventure, Jane Sempeho and Frank Kagoro -- are physicians who have worked in various research organisations. The fourth, Mr Prince Tillya, has the experience in the fast-moving consumer goods industry.

They are taking part in a new global innovation project, dubbed ‘ Unleash’ that brings together people from across the world to ponder on ideas and solutions through a facilitated process of innovation towards achieving the SDGs.

The selected innovators are expected to form teams to explore real-life challenges before defining specific problems and coming up with preliminary solutions.

Dr Sempeho, who works with Amref Health Africa in Kilindi, Tanga Region, said that she came across the call for applications through her organisation. She then sent in her idea on “Access and Utilisation of health services”.

She says healthcare access in areas where she has worked is still a challenge that urgently requires people to come up with innovative ideas to improve.

Her experience is also drawn from what she has been tackling in recent times. “I run a project on anti-FGM, Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Water Sanitation and Hygiene,’’ she said.

Dr Kagoro told The Citizen via telephone from the University of Oxford that his idea is based on how to use Global Health Information Technology to tackle the growing trend of antibiotic resistance and epidemics.

“Leveraging the opportunities offered by innovation in IT and crowd sourcing, this burden can be measured to inform strategies for control and elimination,’’ said Dr Kagoro, a researcher at the Ifakara Health Institute, who is now pursuing studies in international health and tropical medicine.

For Mr Tillya, there is a need for innovative ideas on how to improve the food industry in the country.

He said: ‘“My experience in the fast-moving consumer goods industry and working closely with retailers and wholesalers has enabled me to learn one of the biggest challenges in food waste and food accessibility. Since then, I have been working on developing a solution towards it.”

Dr Bonaventure, also at Oxford University, is focusing on how to deal with the shortage of health personnel in rural settings in developing countries, especially Tanzania.

He believes that online business can help health workers working in rural settings to improve their daily income and stay in those areas to serve the rural communities instead of migrating to urban centres for greener pastures.

“In this way, I hypothesize that many doctors and other health personnel who prefer to live in urban areas for financial benefits would easily live in the rural areas where they are needed most and retention within the country will increase,’’ he said.

Their solutions will be tested; with leading experts and company partners, then refined, and ultimately presented to peers and panels of judges and mentors.