Engineer Norah Magero has become the first Kenyan to win the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation for her Vaccine fridge invention.
Magero’s vaccine fridge is a small, mobile, solar-powered fridge that safely stores and transports medicines like vaccines for use in field vaccinations and remote clinics.
Magero came up with her invention after seeing how farmers she worked with in remote locations needed cold storage but lacked a reliable power supply and during the pandemic when healthcare workers had cold-chain challenges, her invention became useful. She designed Vaccine fridge to chill vaccines and ensure that they reach areas where Kenya’s national grid is yet to get to.
Nadro Magero’s Vaccine fridge was designed with the local challenges in mind. The vaccine fridge is versatile, reliable and localised and she ensure that it works the way healthcare workers need it to work for the conditions they face each day, so that they can save lives without worrying about technology.
Her portable 40-liter Vaccine box can transport blood and tissue and it can be monitored remotely. Besides having a telescopic handle for easy mobility, it can also be wheeled or mounted on a bicycle, motorbike or boat.
The awards ceremony was held virtually on June 15, 2022. Four finalists made presentations before Magero won the first prize of £25,000 ($30,000). The three other finalists, who each won £10,000, were Nigerian Virtue Oboro who is behind Crib A’glow; Jack Fletcher from South Africa who created HYENA POWER POD; and Togolese Gaël Egbidi known for his Solimi prepaid card.
She was delighted when she got the Africa Prize award for her Vaccine Fridge. The potential impact of improving the cold chain delivery of medicine especially vaccines to rural areas is immense,” Africa Prize judge Alessandra Buonfino said. “Norah truly represents the idea that one innovator can change an entire community. We look forward to watching her and her team scale this innovation to reach even more people.”
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation which was founded in 2014 by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering.
Magero is not only the first Kenyan to win the award but also the second woman to be given Africa’s Biggest Prize by the UK’s Royal Academy Of Engineering.