Capitalising on its technological expertise in the field of E-health and Diabetes, Africa Diabetes retailing Medtronic insulin pump in Morocco started a well publicised marketing operation; it is about an insulin pump and a wide range of innovative accompanying solutions for all health professionals in Morocco.
Innovation: Africa Diabetes, a company specializing in innovative supply to diabetes, starts marketing off the catalogue of the American leader Medtronic insulin pump.
Goal: To allow Insulin-dependent diabetics to monitor 24/7 their blood sugar and be able to protect themselves from the hypos.
In practice, two ranges of pumps are available in Morocco. It’s the last pump generation “MiniMed 640 G” and the pump “MiniMed Paradigm Veo”. The offer covers, in addition to the supply of these two insulin pumps, an accompaniment of potential pump holders in consumables to monitor on the day to day their blood sugar (catheters, quick-set infusion set, silhouette infusion set, safe-T infusion set, tanks of insulin and Enlite Sensor).
The deployment of this innovative technology by Africa Diabetes, which requires a closer follow-up of a patient by a health care professional, including endocrinologists, relies on the expertise of two strategic partners, in this case, Eramedic and teams of Medtronic in the Middle East and North Africa region.
At the same time, Africa Diabetes makes available to the type 1 diabetics, children and adults, sensitive to pain of injections of insulin or who suffer from anxiety related to injections, the I-port Advance technology. It is a solution to use with a syringe or an insulin Pen for several injections a day without repeated bites, for a maximum of three days (72 hours).
In another line, Africa Diabetes makes accessible, the “IPro2” solution from Medtronic for the measurement of glucose for professional use by ecosystem health (endocrinologists, diabetologists, clinical, and University Hospitals).
In addition to the advanced offer on the insulin pump supply, Africa Diabetes has, through its platform e-Commerce www.africa-diabetes.com of a catalogue of 100 products that cover the daily needs of type 1 and 2 diabetes such as test strips to measure blood sugar and urinary, needles, injection, insulated kits pens, books, diabetic foot, nutrition… Patients can order and pay online through the interbank electronic payment Center (IJC) platform.
In terms of logistics, Africa Diabetes delivers its products through Morocco using Aramex services that allow users to track their orders online.
Lately, there has been a lot of discussion highlighting the need for incorporating social sciences in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines in order to foster creativity, increase empathy and create a better understanding of the human condition among scientists.
Unfortunately, however, all this talk hasn’t changed the reality on the ground.
As a researcher and teacher in biomedical engineering, looking at the fundamental functions of the human body, I feel that we in engineering (as well as other sciences) have done a disservice to our students. We have failed to connect them to the history of science through stories of scientists.
Our students, these days, have little knowledge about the giants on whose shoulders we all stand.
Research also shows that such stories enable students in STEM disciplines to better understand and apply their classroom knowledge in real-world settings.
Missing piece in science learning
In one of my engineering classes, I discuss how fluids, such as air and blood, flow in the human body. These processes are critical to our health and well-being.
As I do that, I also discuss the associated discoveries made by many leading scientists. The seminal work of scientists such as Joseph Fourier, Daniel Bernoulli and Isaac Newton has transformed our world and tremendously improved our quality of life.
However, beyond the most famous anecdote about the falling apple leading to the discovery of gravity, I find that students in my class know little about Newton’s contributions. While students in my class may have a rich understanding of the Fourier transform (a fundamental mathematical relationship that forms the basis of modern electrical engineering), they literally know nothing about who Fourier was.
Research suggests that context and history play a strong role in connecting science and engineering theory with practice.
As educators, we face tremendous pressures to pack technical materials into our courses. So why should we include history in our lesson plans?
First, history provides a compelling perspective on the process of scientific discovery. We have known through research that historical references can help students clear up common misconceptions about scientific topics, ranging from planetary motion to evolution.
Looking at the story of science over centuries enables students to understand that research and discovery are continuous processes. They can then see that the laws and the equations that they use to solve problems were discovered through long and sometimes painful processes.
The findings they arrive at today, in other words, are the fruits of the hard work of real people who lived in real societies and had complex lives, just like the rest of us.
Second, a sense of history teaches students the all-important value of failure in science. It also highlights the persistence of the scientists who continued to push against the odds.
Recent research suggests that by discussing the struggles and failures of scientists, teachers are able to motivate students. Indeed, the discussion of struggles, obstacles, failures and persistence can lead to significant academic improvement of students, particularly for those who may be facing personal or financial difficulties or feeling discouraged by previous instructors and mentors.
Learning from history
This dose of inspiration is particularly valuable for STEM students who face barriers in their academic work, either due to lack of financial resources or due to their gender or race.
The stories of past scientists are a reminder to them that history is an opportunity. Not all great discoveries were made by people who were at the very top of the socioeconomic pyramid.
Connected to the process of discovery and innovation is the fundamental notion of the multidisciplinary approach.
Students need to understand that this approach is not a creation of the 21st century. People have used the multidisciplinary tools of their time for hundreds of years. Johannes Gutenberg, for example, combined the flexibility of a coin punch with the mechanical strength of the wine press to invent the printing press, which created a profound global impact in disseminating knowledge.
Finally, a fundamental goal of modern engineering education is to create socially conscious engineering practitioners who have a strong sense of ethics.
Following an engineering education, individuals could go on to develop medical technology for resource-constrained settings, or work on stem cells or genetic engineering. The importance of ethics in any of these areas cannot be underestimated.
Case studies and history could be immensely valuable in teaching ethics. History provides strong evidence of how the environment around scientists was equally important in shaping their lives and discoveries. Lessons from history could provide insights into how to make ethical choices related to technology or engineering principles.
History, heritage and a holistic view of learning
The goal, in the end, is not to compromise on the rigor, or to focus exclusively on history and personalities, but to make the material more accessible through story-telling and connection with our common heritage.
By making students realize that they are part of a grand tradition of learning, success and failure, we might find that the goals of retention, inspiration, access and rich engagement with the material are closer than we realize.
Asst. Prof. Muhammad H. Zaman Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography
Of all the MENA countries capital cities, the Greater Cairo Region (GCR) with a present population well over the 20 million mark is a vast agglomeration with many challenges. It is a place of unique political and cultural significance for the world. It has always and still is the prime engine of economic growth and the main population centre in Egypt. The newly settled leadership facing enormous challenges has wisely decided to involve two of the many influencing factors of the country, i.e. its youth and transportation.
Prior to diving the thick of the subject, and as highlighted in an article of the UN HABITAT, Cairo lives with many key challenges; most importantly planning, infrastructure and service delivery which has been managed to barely keep up with the very rapid urban growth over the past four decades, we would like to propose in this context, this article of Centre for Mediterranean Integration of Marseille, France, titled:
Transportation has direct impact on the economy, the environment and people’s mobility. On one hand, the air quality is getting worse and there is pollution due to vehicle emissions resulted from the increasing fuel consumption. On the other hand, the large number of people working in places far away from their residence directly affect traffic negatively.
Due to the poor performance of the public transport system, there have been major changes in the methods of travel in Greater Cairo. Private cars have become the favourite mode of transport for a large percentage of Cairenes, and among the public transport users there has been a move from the formal public transport services (Metros, buses, minibuses and rails) to the informal and private services (taxis, microbuses, minibuses and three wheeled rickshaw) which have a great impact on urban transportation as it is filling the gaps of the formal public transport services in terms offering accessibility, speed, and route flexibility.
As a result of the challenges that the government faces in meeting the transportation and mobility needs; solutions have been more complicated and untraditional, that is why citizen-based innovation and initiatives are strongly encouraged to take place in solving the problem. Few years ago, new private initiatives in Egypt have offered diverse solutions to alleviate transportation problems in Greater Cairo, such as crowdsourcing mobile applications and customized ride sharing platforms, promoting fewer car usage and ownership; besides other flexible routing transit services that facilitate commuters’ trips.
Although the emergence of transport start-ups and the solutions they provided might help in solving the transport complications, and might have a great contribution to the community if successful, some of them had a short life span for various internal and external reasons (as shown below), and might be terminated at any phases of the start-up’s life cycle. It has been noticed that there is no one-size-fits-all; the start-ups that survived are the ones that are most adaptable to change, cope with the transformations and keep offering what people want. Perseverance as well as agility are core features in the success of any start-up. The question is how to keep the transport start-ups, having solutions to the severe transportation problem, to sustain?
According to some conducted researches, below are some recommendations for the Transportation Start-ups to help them survive for some time:
Since the objective of the transportation start-ups is to solve community problems, they should have a clear strategy on how they would expand in the market and affect a larger segment to attract the attention and to be sustainable.
For the transport industry, Business to Customer (B2C) service needs a large amount of funding, as it needs a quick market spread. Money will be generated when many vehicles are operated and more clients opted for the service.
The transportation field needs to be managed in a way that protects the passenger from both the road hassles and drivers harassments. Developing monitoring and evaluation system would help in that sense.
To offer a transportation service to be used by the public, it is all about developing IT. In this era, investing in a strong IT platform will distinguish one service provider from the other.
Since many governmental entities are looking at the benefit they will get in return of their provided support, the transportation start-ups have to cater to the needs of the Ministry of Transportation in solving the transportation problems. Upon the applicability of the service, and how much it aligns with the Ministry’s needs, the start-up might be supported.
Transportation start-ups that deliver almost the same service have to coordinate with each other to cover a big range and get a large number of users. The transportation start-ups should be implemented in a bigger scale to make a real difference and get the needed support.
Moving to the concept of Public Private Partnership (PPP), the role of the public sector is always needed for the progress and the development of the community services. The public sector believed in innovation and entrepreneurship and noticed that those two components play a significant role in the economic growth, thus, several governmental entities launching centres to incubate start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), few years ago, to help them build their companies professionally, yet these entities are not well marketed and their capacities are not fully utilized.
Focusing on the transportation services, the government has to encourage people and give them incentive to leave their own cars and go for the public transport as an initiative to reduce traffic jam. To achieve so, things should be prioritized, for instance: developing a good infrastructure, managing traffic properly and handling parking management. At the same time the government has to encourage and facilitate the operations of the private sector that offers solutions in the transportation domain and provides services to the public that decrease the congestion such as ride sharing in the form of carpooling, bus pooling and car-hailing services.
Finally, the first step to solve a problem is to tackle its roots. To do so, there should be cooperation between different sectors, the private sector, the public sector as well as the social community; all these segments must play a role in developing the country. Solving transportation problem is a strategic project and if all sectors worked together to solve this problem, it will be solved.
Passant Fakhr El-Din, MPA
Passant is a Faculty Affairs Officer at the American University in Cairo (AUC). She has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the AUC, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and a B.Sc. in Business Administration from Ain Shams University, Faculty of Commerce, the English Section. Her research analyses the Egyptian start-ups and entrepreneurs; she is trying to highlight the crucial role of the public sector in the entrepreneurial domain and promoting the concept of Public Private Partnership “PPP”.