Monday, June 6, 2022

The University of Nairobi was confirmed as the Public Research Organization for the Research and Development (R&D) Impact Project - a project conducted by the Damu-Sasa blood services management system - a cloud-based system that supports blood sourcing, inventory management, transfusion management, haemovigilance, referrals and deferrals. 

The R&D Impact Project conducted by Damu-Sasa in partnership with the University of Nairobi is expected to help in understanding the behavioural factors that influence blood donor decisions and also promote the uptake of this technology in local hospitals, in the management of blood transfusion. This project is funded by the International Devepment Research Center (IDRC), Canada through Vilgro- Africa, an incubator and impact investor supporting emerging healthcare businesses in Africa.

The Damu Sasa Project will be the beneficiary of a study to be conducted by the team from The University of Nairobi led by Prof. Vincent Machuki from the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences (FBMS). The other Researchers include Prof. Evans Aosa and Dr. Kennedy Ogollah (FBMS), Dr. Khamati Shilabukha and Dr. Kibet Shikuku of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) respectively. 

The Executive Chairman Dr Matunda Nyanchama and the cofounders of Damu-Sasa System Limited, Mr Aaron Ogunde and Mr Kilemi Thambura deliberated about the project with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi (UoN) Professor Julius Ogengo during a courtesy call visit. 

“The University of Nairobi will undertake the research whose output will help Damu-Sasa advance its technological leadership in this field, which will be of great benefit to the general public and the Ministry of Health to resolve the issues of blood shortages in the country”, remarked Dr Matunda.

The project will inculcate Industry-Academia linkages between the University of Nairobi and Damu-Sasa and is expected to have an impact on all stakeholders, viz: the University of Nairobi who will continue to raise the bar on research excellence through multi-disciplinary collaboration, Damu Sasa will use the findings to be able to enhance the technology and the Ministry of Health will benefit in terms of informing policy on addressing key issues in the blood services in the blood value chain in Kenya and the general public who will benefit in regards to the availability of blood reserves.

“From the health perspective, blood may be looked at as an important issue, but from a social perspective, it has a lot of cultural undertones that we may not be aware of until we dig into perspectives and superstitions” noted Dr Khamati. “This is why this project is very important to carry out and understand from a cultural perspective.” he asserted. 

“This project is in line with the University's objectives and the University is committed to responding to those initiatives that have an impact on society” noted Prof Ogengo. He emphasized that the project should be able to inculcate student mentorships because it will help students have industry experience. He gave the go-ahead for the commencement of this project.

The technology developed by Damu-Sasa seeks to disrupt the blood services in the blood value chain. The blood reserves target set by World Health Organization - in regards to the size of Kenya is 1 million units, but Kenya doesn't get to that target. In 2020, the country collected 94,000 units, but due to the efforts made by Damu Sasa and other stakeholders, in 2021, the country collected 250,000 units - the largest amount ever collected in Kenya. 

Damu Sasa came out of the first cohort of a programme run by the ministry of ICT called the Presidential Digital Talent Programme, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the programme at Taifa Hall in 2015. 



UoN, Damu-Sasa, Partnership, Health, technology