Two students bagged top award last year on their innovation that looks to transform the health care sector.
Iyad Anwar Tahlar and Tanvi Vijay Hirani took home top prize for their Universal Health Care (UHC) solution during the 2019 Young Scientists Kenya (YSK).
The duo, who are students at SCLP Samaj School in Nairobi, invented a solution that seeks to streamline operations of government hospitals.
The duo beat about 500 students from over 200 schools across the 47 counties, who took part in the competition.
Hirani says the project was informed by government failure to implement a reliable patient’s biometric systems.
“Our intention was to actually help the government improve health standard in the country and that is why we came up with this, which will help many patients,” she says.
The innovation, which is run by the Irish embassy in partnership with other stakeholders including Safaricom, began as a pilot project in 2017 in 10 counties.
Tahlar says they hope to pilot the innovation in major public hospitals such as Mbagathi and Kenyatta National Hospital.
“There have been so many issues with time management ( in hospitals) and so that is one of the factors we are looking at when coming up with a project. The patient can book an appointment with the doctor, which eliminates time wastage,” he says.
He adds that the system also allows users to rate the doctor based on service provision.
“For example, if a doctor has given you a poor service you are able to rate the doctor based on how he or she treated you on a scale of one to five, with one being lowest and five highest,” he adds.
“It will also have a report section where users can also give reasons why they gave a particular rating.”
Irish ambassador, Fionnuala Quinlan says YSK competition received a major boost last year after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed all state agencies to waive trademark and intellectual property fees.
“Teachers, students, Government of Kenya, Ministry of Education right up to the presidency have really invested and engaged in the project,” she says.
Ms Quinlan adds that on January 18, the third YSK programme was launched across all 47-counties.
The YSK competition is divided into three pillars — outreach programme, which runs between January and June; national exhibition held in August; and boot camps in February.
In the outreach stage students are exposed to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) demos and encouraged to pursue careers in the areas.
In the exhibition stage, students are given opportunities to exhibit their projects, with independent judging and award ceremony.
“Bootcamp is where winners are given mentorship and training on commercialisation, enterprise development, intellectual property and trademarking,” Ms Quinlan says.
Early this month, the two innovators participated in the Young Scientists Ireland completion held in Dublin where they showcased their project to Ireland’s top government officials.
“We have also been awarded full scholarships to study at the Strathmore University when we are done with our secondary educations,” says Hirani.
The YSK runners-up position went to Sophia Nduge from Daraja Secondary School in Laikipia County, for her homemade lift pump. Wincate Wawira and Linet Waithira of Siakago Girls Secondary in Embu were third for their water purification system through Moringa aloe vera seeds.
From left: Irish Ambassador to Kenya Fionnuala Quinlan, Tanvi Vijay Hirani (YSK winner), Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee, Kenya’s Ambassador to Ireland Michael