Opportunity Area

How might we improve demand and access to essential maternal health medicines & supplies in Uganda??

The proposed title of your idea

Protecting Remote Infants by SMS (PRISMS)

Please describe your idea.

PRISMS offers a mobile phone application to be used by lower health cadre like nurses and midwives to empower them manage sick neonates.

What problem does your idea solve in the market?

We are trying to solve the problem of limited number of specialist doctors like pediatricians and neonatologists who are specialized enough to manage sick neonates by empowering low cadre with PRISMS who are inadequately trained to manage sick newborns.

Briefly explain how you identified the need or opportunity

Our team includes Paediatricians and Child Health Specialists who have been National Trainers of Newborn Care programs in Uganda. As we trained and mentored frontline health workers in newborn care for the Ministry of Health and different health organizations in Uganda, we realised that the sick newborn posed a steep challenge to nurses and other non-physician health workers yet they have little choice but to manage these sick babies. Even though we introduced the paper-based Canadian Acute Care of at Risk Newborn babies to try and mitigate the clinical decision making challenges, its implementation was hampered by amount of paper required, time to complete the paper forms and workload.

Who are the beneficiaries of your solution and how will they benefit?

Adoption of PRISMS by health care providers in Uganda is expected to provide uniform management of sick and at-risk newborn babies and also has potential to harmonize standard of care while saving lives. We hypothesize that PRISMS will enhance rapid implementation of accurate medical interventions that will lead to overall improvement in the quality of health care given to sick newborns. We anticipate that access to information on appropriate care will consolidate knowledge renewal.

Why are you convinced your solution will solve the problem?

Our deployment results in an ethics approved study in Uganda showed that: 1) a single server can process multiple requests simultaneously, 2) All health workers agree or strongly agreed that PRISMS reminded them of aspects of care that they had missed to offer to the newborn cases tested, and 3) we demonstrated statistically significant agreement between Pediatrician suggested case management and PRISMS management. This gives us confidence that the solution will work.

What other initiatives like yours exist out there? How will you differentiate your solution?

There is an iPad-based Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) tablet based system with no SMS from D-tree. They do old children only using the IMCI protocols. We have also learnt of AIIMS-WHO CC ENBC app from South East Asia but this only trains and does not help the health work to provide the approriate management for the sick child. None of these interventions use SMS. This makes PRISMS a very unique application.Paper-based ACoRN has over 40 check boxes for clinicians to go through before arriving at a management plan for the sick newborn baby, these number poses adherence to protocol issues. PRISMS condensed these to 15 close-ended questions with the rest programmed into the server. PRISMS is will increase workflow efficiency and reduce intervention delays vital to newborn survival.

What have you done up-to date to test your idea with potential users? What learnings do you have to share?

Key learnings from this study are summarized below: 1. Over 85% (6/7) of Pediatricians rated PRISMS as a very good application. 2. All pediatricians (100%) recommended PRISMS to be used by health workers 3. The most common theme on the value of PRISMS was its ability to remind health workers of aspects of care that had missed in the care plan. 4. Average time to receive feedback from PRISMS server was 30 seconds. 5. When deployed in one health facility Midwives who used PRISMS: 1) Felt empowered and supported by PRISMS, 2) They felt PRISMS should be scaled to support other health workers managing sick newborn babies, 3) All 12 (100%) sick newborn babies managed by PRISMS survived to discharge. The above results are a summary of findings obtained from the phase 1 PRISMS trial.

How will you financially sustain your business?

The 3rd generation of PRISMS incorporates the business model of the initiative which is subscription based. In the 3rd generation only phones which have an active subscription will receive feedback from the server. The monthly subscription per device is 5,000UGx.

Please share a link to a 3 minute online video that best describes your idea and team


Please tell us about each founder and their roles on the team. How do you know your founders and how long have you worked together?

Prof. Julius Kiwanuka (PI) a professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at Mbarara University, with extensive experience in the development and delivery of educational and training programs for child health in Uganda. Eng, Mukama Martin is a Computer Engineer who majored in data communication. He has expertise in software development and system architecture. Abhijit Sinha is an advocate for the Maker Culture and Engineering for Social Development. He has co-created Education for Development (E4D), an alternative education system in India. Dr. Francis Bajunirwe is an Epidemiologist in the Department of Community Health at MUST. He has experience in the design and analysis of clinical epidemiological studies. Dr. Santorino Data is the Uganda Country manager for the consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech). He is a lecturer of Paediatrics at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and helped in the creation of an innovation ecosystem at MUST.

Please tell us about other team members that are not cofounders.

Ms.Nambogo Nuriat is the Research and Grants Development Officer for CAMTech at MUST. She coordinated research activities on the PRISMS project.

Which members of your team will attend the program full-time?

Eng Mukama Martin Dr.Data Santorino

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  • Mukama Martin
  • Posted 1 year ago
  • Modified 1 year ago