by: Herbert Lwanga
In October 2015 the United Nation (UN) officially launched the sustainable development goals (SDGs) to run from 2015 to 2030 code named, “agenda 2030”. Essentially, the SDGs served as a replacement of the millennium development goals (MDGs) which were developed by a group of countries mainly from the developing world to guide the state of world affairs from the year 2005 – 2015. Whereas the MDGs focus on catering for 50% of the world populations, the SDGs committed them selves to covering everybody in-line with their motto: Leaving no one behind. On their part, the SDGs focus on ensuring good health and well-being for all among other issues such as education and gender equality.
In line with SDG goal three which emphasizes, “to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, it is possible for engineers to play their part by developing and implementing technology solutions that address the various aspects of that goal.
As things stand, developing countries continue to experience varying health challenges which overall are marked by some improvement. For example, countries like Brazil and China reduced their child mortality rates 10-fold over the last 4 decades. Other countries – especially in Africa – still have high child mortality rates, but it’s not true that these countries are not making progress. In Sub-Saharan Africa, child mortality has been continuously falling for the last 50 years (1 in 4 children died in the early 60s – today it is less than 1 in 10). Over the last decade this improvement has been happening faster than ever before (https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality). As one of the factors behind this progress is better health care (including improved technologies) being key aspects.
In this regard, engineers in the developing world can play a significant part in generating health related technologies towards improving conditions within the health sector. Furthermore, such solutions developed in the developing world, could be replicated to benefit humanity world-wide.
For the case of Uganda IEEE Uganda SIGHT have been working and continue to work, in contributing towards health related solutions to benefit the national population among which are children, child bearing mothers and the other vulnerable parts of the population. One such solution is a Vital monitor which is being supported by IEEE SIGHT and it targets saving lives of new born babies at the stage of birth. This solution is being developed by a team of IEEE Uganda SIGHT members in collaboration with a US based company known as Neopenda.
Such a solution has attracted other community members to develop interest in working with IEEE Uganda SIGHT in coming up with engineering technology solutions to real-life challenges in society. As a result members Mukujju community, Tororo district, eastern Uganda have engaged IEEE Uganda SIGHT to jointly develop a solar solution to address the issue of energy supply to Mukujju Healthy Center IV service unit. This is because currently the erratic supply of electric power to this health center has resulted into the death and injury of newborn babies, children and women whenever they come for maternal services. The development of this solution is almost complete and soon IEEE Uganda SIGHT members will embark on its installation.
To this end IEEE Uganda Subsection and SIGHT sincerely expresses its thanks to IEEE SIGHT continuous support in terms of technical guidance and financial support which aspects have kept IEEE Uganda SIGHT alive and kicking as it aspires to reach greater heights in the near future