Students from private and public universities around Kenya, Nigeria and East Africa today gathered at United States International University – Africa (USIU), to attend the first ever Kenya Healthcare Students’ Summit (KEHSS).
The conference is jointly organised by the Kenya Healthcare Students’ Summit (KEHSS) in partnership with Amref Health Africa through the Youth in Action (Y-Act) and the Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) funded Universal Health Coverage projects among other partners.
Convened under the theme ‘Towards a Multidisciplinary Approach for the Achievement of Universal Health Coverage,’ the two-day forum will serve as an inaugural platform for young health care students to engage decision makers and other stakeholders in the field of health to create the first cohort of ‘UHC champions.’
The conference was officially opened by Amref Health Africa Group CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi who is also the Co- Chair of the UHC2030 Steering Committee.
In his opening remarks, Dr Gitahi noted that UHC is not an academic topic discussed in technical language, but rather a social justice construction where those who have little in life deserve more in life.
Addressing the young delegates Dr Githinji said,
“UHC is not about how many people can afford health care, but is about the number that cannot afford health care. UHC is therefore about equity and not about equality. It is about giving more to those who do not have and providing protection to those who have little.’’
“Health is the most fundamental human right. Health is not a privilege to a few but a right to all. It is the coverage of essential health services among the most disadvantaged populations,’’ he added.
“UHC is not just about providing health care, it is providing quality health services,” said Prof. Gilbert Kokwaro, Chair of the panel for the development of Kenya’s UHC benefits package.
Prof. Kokwaro further called on the youth to be leaders, stating
“a leader is someone who is given stewardship over four assets: people capital, processes and information.”
He further stated that the job description of health workers is to add value to all of the four assets.
“UHC envisages that all citizens have access to the quality health services that they deserve, when and where they may want to access them, without falling into financial catastrophe. Quality health services are ‘STEEEP’ meaning Safe, Timely, Effective, Efficient, Equitable and People centred,” he noted.
The conference will also provide a supportive space for young health workers to meet and discuss key priority areas with policy and decision makers and engage them on issues that the normal classroom environment may not touch on.
These session would focus on key policy areas that affect our health care system namely: Universal Health Coverage, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.
Dr Mercy Korir, a health journalist at the Standard Media Group highlighted the role of health workers in UHC urging the students to have a cohesive relationship with different people in different health sector fields.
‘Young people are the future of this country. We grow up in health systems where nurses seem to be undermined by the doctors. If we want to achieve UHC, we must have a cohesive relationship with everyone, and see each as an asset in the health system. We have to change the look of health care and see it holistically and treat health as a human right,” she said.
Other notable speakers are Dr Christine Sadia, Chair of the Kenya Medical Women’s Association (KMWA), Dr Amit N Thakker, chairman of Africa Health Business Limited, Dr Jacqueline Kitulu, president of the Kenya Medical Association, Dr Sylvia Opanga, a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi’s School of Pharmacy, Erick Venant, Founder and CEO at Roll Bank Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative and Dr Elizabeth Wala, Director of Amref Health Africa in Kenya’s Health System Strengthening Programme among others.
Airbus and Koniku launch a disruptive biotechnology solutions for aviation security operations
Koniku Inc.-Airbus Aircraft cabin (credit: Airbus)
Toulouse – Airbus and Koniku Inc. have made a significant step forward in the co-development of a solution for aircraft and airport security operations by extending research activities to include biological hazard detection capabilities, as well as chemical and explosive threats.
The disruptive biotechnology solution, which was originally focused on the contactless and automated detection, tracking and location of chemicals and explosives on-board aircraft and in airports, is now being adapted in light of the COVID-19 crisis to include the identification of biological hazards.
Based on the power of odor detection and quantification found in nature, the technical solution, developed to meet the rigorous operational regulatory requirements of aircraft and airport security operations, uses genetically engineered odorant receptors that produce an alarm signal when they come into contact with the molecular compounds of the hazard or threat that they have been programmed to detect.
Airbus and Koniku Inc. entered into a cooperation agreement in 2017, leveraging Airbus’ expertise in sensor integration and knowledge of ground and on-board security operations within the aviation and defense industries, as well as Koniku’s biotechnology know-how for automated and scalable volatile organic compound detection (via their Konikore™ platform).
With in-situ testing planned for Q4 2020, Airbus is demonstrating its ability to accelerate traditional research cycles in a real-time environment in order to develop and bring to market a game-changing, end-to-end, security solution at convincing scale and speed, thereby contributing to the continuous improvement of security in the air transport ecosystem, while increasing operational efficiency and improving passenger experience.
Low risk of COVID-19 in SA water systems
There is no evidence that COVID-19 will contaminate water supplies, but the pandemic has highlighted water challenges putting communities’ health at risk, say industry stakeholders.
Panelists participating in a high-level webinar hosted by Messe Muenchen South Africa, organiser of IFAT Africa, said last week that although international scientists were using COVID-19 RNA in sewage to track the prevalence of the virus in communities, there was no evidence that COVID-19 could pose a risk via drinking water. However, the pandemic was highlighting the health risks up to 30% of the South African population faces through lack of access to piped water.
The virus does not survive waste-water treatment plant processing or the treatment for reuse, the panellists said.
Hennie Pretorius, Industry Manager Water and Waste Water at Endress + Hauser, said: “There have been concerns that this virus could enter the water supply, but the good news is that with proper disinfection of waste water, we should not see the viruses entering rivers, and proper filtration should eliminate any risk in the drinking water supply.”
“There is no evidence of COVID-19 entering water supply systems at this stage, but even if it did, the technology exists to remove such viruses,” said Henk Smit, MD of Vovani Water Products.
Panellists said the pandemic had highlighted the health risks facing those South Africans who do not have access to treated, piped water, however. Taking tanks of water to underserved areas raised water quality concerns, while shared taps increased communities’ risk of contracting the virus, they noted.
Achim Wurster, Chairman of the Water Institute of South Africa (WISA) said: “There could be some risks in the standpipes in poorer communities, where people congregate and touch the tap – and this is where education comes in. But we are not aware of cases of viable virus coming through treatment processes and infecting people.”
Moderator Benoit Le Roy, CEO of Enviro One, noted: “This crisis is highlighting our deficiencies. Nearly half the water we harvest, treat and convey at great cost is wasted, and we are running out of surface water and ground water. So, some of the obvious measures are to reduce, reuse and augment. But we need the political will, and the financial and risk models to implement that. I believe there is sufficient funding, technology, implementation capability and pedigree to give us water security, so that in times like this, when we have a catastrophe on our hands, we don’t exacerbate the health risks the underserved 30% of the population is exposed to.”
The panellists said that effective implementation of the Department of Water and Sanitation’s Water and Sanitation Master Plan for national water security required stepped up effort and improved public-private collaboration.
“This pandemic has brought our inefficiencies to light, and it will hopefully create more opportunities for government and private sector to sit together and find solutions, drive certain projects and get things done faster,” said Smit.
South Africa’s water supply and treatment challenges, solutions and opportunities will come under discussion at IFAT Africa, the leading trade fair for water, sewage, refuse and recycling, at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg from July 13 to 15, 2021.
To watch the full webinar discussion, click here
Envisionit Deep AI launches AI solution to help Radiologists and Doctors fight Coronavirus
Dr. Jaishree Naidoo, CEO and Co-Founder of Envisionit Deep AI
Established in 2019, Envisionit Deep AI is an innovative medical technology company that utilises AI to streamline and improve medical imaging diagnosis for radiologists. They are guided by their vision to positively impact the lives of people in Africa by using revolutionary technology to democratise access to healthcare for all.
Envisionit Deep AI has just launched an online version of RADIFY, their AI solution for radiologists and medical doctors. RADIFY, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, has been offered free of charge to support hospitals, doctors and any other public and private organisation using X-ray in the identification and treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia.
RADIFY was primarily developed to enable radiologists to diagnose more images, more consistently and in less time – whilst prioritising care for people who need it most. One of the biggest challenges facing primary healthcare in South Africa, even before COVID-19, was that they were under resourced and over used. The first line of investigation for pneumonia, and likewise COVID pneumonia, is an X-ray to pick up suspicious features that can be prioritised for further testing.
The volume of X-rays, CT scans and MRI’s generated have always outpaced the number of qualified Radiologists on hand to diagnose and generate patient reporting, creating bottlenecks in the system, often unintentionally leaving urgent cases in the queue for hours on end. RADIFY is capable of labelling 20 different pathologies on X-rays at a rate of 2,000 x-rays per minute, which is 2,000 times faster than a human being!
The chest X-Ray is the first line of investigation for COVID pneumonia because it’s the most readily available, quick and cost-effective imaging tool for the diagnosis of pneumonia – the number one killer of patients with COVID-19. With the impending demand for testing, known shortage of specialists and the costs associated, it’s vital for healthcare to streamline this process. RADIFY can assist healthcare facilities to detect possible COVID-19 pneumonia cases in order of high, intermediate and low probability.
Dr. Jaishree Naidoo, CEO and Co-Founder: Paediatric radiologist who has served the state health care system for 20 years. Pioneered the paediatric radiology subspecialty after becoming the first South African qualified paediatric radiologist in 2010. Previously, head of paediatric radiology at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg academic hospital and at Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital where she commissioned the first paediatric radiology department.
She has chaired the South African Society of Paediatric Imaging (SASPI), the African Society of Paediatric Imaging (AfSPI), serves on the Executive Council of the World Federation of Paediatric Imaging (WFPI) and African Society of Radiology (ASR)
To test the platform, visit https://radify.ai.
Visit: Envisionit Deep AI