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Madalitso Tsakamwa
Dr Madalitso Tsakamwa - Quality Assurance

Computerized drug counter device in Malawi

News   Chapter Banda   February 20, 2019
PIC: The Duo explaining how the device works to high school students
In line with the idea that Universities should be part of addressing problems and generating knowledge through research, two final year students of Electronics and Computer Engineering at the University of Malawi —The Polytechnic, have developed an automated device for counting medicine called Drug Counter.

The Duo, Francis Chilomo and Hope Kelvin Chilunga got the idea from some parts of the world. They decided to implement the innovation in Malawi by using wood which is locally available.

The team started working on the device when they were in second year of their studies at the institution in 2014.

The idea came in after the group established that there are a lot of challenges that pharmacists face in course of their work either in public hospitals or health Centre pharmacies. 

In addition, the Duo was motivated to find a solution using electronics to solve health problems, among others human errors, long queues and slowness during drugs dispensing time by pharmacists.

According to Chilomo, the group thought of coming up with computerization device in order to show the public the skills they have acquired from the Polytechnic as far as providing solutions to health sector in Malawi is concerned .

“Many pharmacists in the country use a stick to count drugs and it takes time for them to pack manually. For this reason, we thought of automating the process by using locally available resources which are cost-effective and eliminate human errors committed by pharmacists in their course of work,” he said.

A Polytechnic lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Alinafe Kaliwo commended the group for taking a hand in alleviating problems that the health sector is currently facing.

However, Kaliwo further said the innovation is good, but it is still in the development stage.

“As you may know, medical equipment has to go through a number of tests before they are taken to health facilities for use, “he elaborated.

He urged the pair to keep on advancing the device so that it should be aligned to ably work in the medical field.

The device is cheaper, affordable, user and environmental friendly compared to other pill counting devices. 

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