MUST student wins innovations award


Fourth year Biomedical Engineering student at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), Dumisani Namakhwa, is one of the four winners of an innovation competition organised by the Department of Agriculture Engineering at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).

In May this year, LUANAR called for innovative engineering concepts from students of the four public universities but targeting MUST, Mzuzu University (MZUNI), The Polytechnic of the University of Malawi (UNIMA) and their own students.

“The competition sought to select the best four concepts from among these students. The four winning concepts will be funded into an innovative product. K1,500,000 will go to each of the awardees for this purpose,” said Namakhwa, adding that the Royal Academy of Engineering under Higher Education Partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa (HEPSSA), funded the competition.

“I joined the competition by submitting my concept on digital blood pressure monitoring medical device which, among others seeks to fill the gap in existing technologies that lack the ability to digitally store and provide key meaning of the blood pressure measurements, and ensure that there is population-based data to inform policies.”

He added that out of the four awardees, one came from each of the targeted universities.

With the funding, Namakhwa plans to develop a medical device that would be able to measure blood pressure and synchronize the measures with a computer or mobile application with possible interpretation of the results, and development of web-based data bank.

“I’m also aiming at developing the device with features of next generation medical devices that combine artificial intelligence, pre-diagnosis, and computer compatibility,” added an excited Namakhwa.

“The grant will give me the chance to work on my project and realise my goal of using my engineering abilities to solve real life problems. This has also brought to light the potential that I have as an innovator, thereby giving me confidence to pursue my career as an innovator.”

The four winners emerged after a rigorous assessment by a HEPSSA implementation team at LUANAR which received around 150 concepts/ideas from applicants.

The awarding ceremony was held on Tuesday, August 25 at LUANAR in Lilongwe and the awardees have so far been five months from September to come up with an innovative product.