Up Accelerate is a one-year innovation programme that seeks to explore new and engaging ways to tackle pressing sexual and reproductive health challenges in Uganda, while promoting social entrepreneurship among young people. By tapping into networks of young entrepreneurs and providing them with seed funding, mentorship and technical support, Up Accelerate aims to develop market-ready, scalable and sustainable solutions in the area of sexual and reproductive health.

The initiative in Uganda forms part of a regional initiative by the UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office, with funding from UK AID. It has been implemented by UNFPA Uganda in partnership with Outbox, a local hybrid incubator that specializes in supporting entrepreneurs to build high-growth businesses using technology. It is also supported by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and National Guidance.

The programme is currently in its second cycle, the first of which came to an end following an end-of-cycle demo event.

A demographic dividend in Uganda

Investing in young people’s health and education in Uganda is critical to ensuring that the country reaps a demographic dividend. Investing in a healthier and more educated population and enabling young people to access opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, will provide young Ugandans with a favourable environment to thrive in business and private life, and to make informed and safe decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.

Young entrepreneurs were encouraged to submit their innovative ideas, of which four would be picked to join the first cycle of the Up Accelerate programme over a period of four months. During this period, successful entrepreneurs would enjoy two months of business training, mentoring and assistance on scaling, plus two months’ support in going to market. For the latter, seed funding of $10,000 would be made available, based on progress evaluation.  

Up Accelerate called on young people to realize their desire to learn about and contribute to the challenges faced by the country in regards to improving the planning, access, availability and quality of SRH information, services and programmes.

The Up Accelerate program was facilitated by Outbox, an incubator specialized in supporting entrepreneurs into market. Two acceleration cycles were planned to run between November 2016 and October 2017.

Cycle one winning solutions

  • Stre@mline is web and mobile application that supports health workers to easily collect data related to their clinical activities and have it displayed in an easy to understand visual way so as to aid quick and real time decision making.
  • TEHECA seeks to solve the problem of limited and poor quality health care workers to provide timely care to expectant and new mothers by providing an alternative healthcare workforce.
  • Drug Dash is a decision-support system that enables health centers and drug distribution organisations capture data on drug supplies and consumption so as to better understand consumption trends through easy to understand visualisation tools and support accurate decision making.
  • iDrain is an improved chest drainage systems that removes the pleural accumulation of patients (new mothers). iDrain seeks to solve the growing problem of using mineral water bottles in hospitals to drain pleural effusions.

Cycle two winning solutions

  • Blood Finder: Monitors in real time the amount of blood types stored at health facilities and locates the nearest available supply of a specific blood type, for quick referral of mothers in need of a blood transfusion. 
  • Health Data Harvester: A mobile app that aims to digitize the process of patient data collection at health facility level.
  • Eco Smart Pad: A low-cost sanitary towel made from sugarcane, for girls in rural communities. This will help improve menstrual hygiene.
  • mScan: A portable ultrasound scanner made of a smartphone and a probe for pregnant women in rural areas. This promises to help save the lives of mothers in rural areas where access to health services is limited.

Blood Finder: Monitors in real time the amount of blood types stored at health facilities and locates the nearest available supply of a specific blood type, for quick referral of mothers in need of a blood transfusion. 

Health Data Harvester: A mobile app that aims to digitize the process of patient data collection at health facility level.

Eco Smart Pad: A low-cost sanitary towel made from sugarcane, for girls in rural communities. This will help improve menstrual hygiene.

mScan: A portable ultrasound scanner made of a smartphone and a probe for pregnant women in rural areas. This promises to help save the lives of mothers in rural areas where access to health services is limited.

- See more at: http://esaro.unfpa.org/en/news/uberizing-care-expectant-mothers-%E2%80%9...

Read Uberizing care for expectant mothers – app developed by Ugandan youth

Read more about Uganda Up Accelerate.

Read about our other Innovation Accelerators:
Kenya iAccelerator: the I.AM campaign
Rwanda iAccelerator
Tanzania iAccelerator: Amua