A Ugandan innovator, researcher and engineer Nsamba Christopher, the founder and director of the African Space Research Program, is in the final stages of building what is going to be the largest and technologically advanced baby incubator in the world. It’s manufacture from the backyard of his home in Ntinda; where he built his workshop.
According to Nsamba, the incubator will be able to carry and work on 10 babies at a go. Nsamba has largely built this high-tech machine on his own with little to no support from government, save for recent input by Ministry of Health particularly Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine.
This is the second incubator to be build by Nsamba, as the first one which carries one baby was deployed in Mukono Hospital.
“This is my second built incubator project in Uganda, a ten-baby single unit with no assistance from concerned government ministries. If it was not for Ministry of Health support, I wouldn’t be able to implement. The ten-baby incubator is to be commissioned in Kawempe Hospital”Nsamba Christopher
This is the second incubator that Nsamba has built. The first incubator he manufactured and installed in Mukono hospital has saved more than 250 babies. A video of Nsamba’s first incubator, dubbed SAVANT GENIUS available on his organisation’s website http://africanscientist.org, carries testimonies of nurses at Mukono Grade IV, expressing relief at the way the machine helped save the lives of premature and neonatal babies as well as the stress they endured in trying to save the babies.
Now, Nsamba has advanced from a one-baby incubator to a 10-baby incubator and his innovation is set to be installed at the Kawempe wing of Mulago national referral hospital.
The new 10-baby incubator, dubbed SAVANT X is the largest and most advanced in the world, according to Nsamba, even though it’s manufacture from the backyard of his home/workshop in Ntinda has eluded the recognition of the President especially in recent addresses that have focused on turning Uganda’s ingenuity into a tool for economic development.
Here are some of the specifics of the incubator:
- This incubator understands and can make decisions in case of an emergency when medical personnel are not close by.
- It carries 10 babies at once, in 10 different chambers.
- Some babies get brain injuries (Twitches) during birth and they end up with continuously moving body parts, when it is not the baby doing it, for example, the baby can have the hand move back and forth continuously; this can cause the baby to become so tired and die. The machine has a technology which fixes damaged brain cells for neonates.
- Some babies delay to breath upon delivery and get dead brain cells, if they survive, they become mentally disabled. This machine has a technology which stops brain cells from dying off if the baby is loaded as quickly as possible.
- Normally, oxygen is delivered to babies through tubes which they bypass over the nose, this machine can deliver oxygen wireless to the baby, without any tubes attached to the nose. Nsamba discovered some babies are really irritated by this conventional way of oxygen delivery, so the machine delivers oxygen wireless.
- The machine is loaded with a server customised through custom-made software to be able to read the 1087 sensors deployed on board, to understand, interpret them and call out decisions accordingly, in case this machine is confused about a decision to take, it will be able to communicate to the international paediatric network, for further advice in case no local medical personnel can save a baby, and when it is trying to do so by itself.
- It is designed with a heat bank which stores heat so, in case of a power failure outage, this machine continues operation as normal. When power is off, sensors, servers and much more pick power from the secondary 1, secondary 1A, and primary 1A BUSS backups, and picks heat from its heat bank, all sensor and software governed. In short, it remains fully functional when power is off and can warm all the 10 babies at individually set temperatures for six days without power; sustaining full functionality.
- This machine remembers faces of those that work on it, if someone whom it doesn’t know attempts to remove a baby, it will lock all cabins and call the Head of Department on phone, if it is fine, he/she just answers the phone and says, override. Then it will allow the new person to reach the baby, if the Head of Department thinks it is an intruder, on phone he/she says arrest. It will even lock the room doors where the incubator is so that the intruder does not escape, then continue having all the 10 babies locked into it.
- In case of a fire, this machine can cut off smoke from reaching the babies, and it 100% supports them on the auxiliary oxygen buss.
The Ministry of Health Permanent secretary Dr. Diana Atwine and her team visited Christopher’s workshop. “With other Ministry of Health officials, we visited Nsamba Christopher’s workshop, the biological engineer who manufactured the automated Incubator that has so far saved 1238 babies in Mukono hospital. He is finalizing the worlds largest incubator that accommodates 10 babies at ago,” Permanent secretary Dr. Diana Atwine said on her Facebook page. She continued by saying: “Line government institutions like the Ministry of Science and Technology should prioritise and empower such skilled Ugandans to contribute this knowledge to our Ugandan Manufacturing Industry. We should building such internal capacity if we are to compete in international markets.”