Bangor man's Ugandan experience leads to business idea

  • Photo: Paul with some of his fellow Kiwoko Hospital engineers

    Bangor man Paul Baker has developed a business specialising in wireless temperature monitoring systems, inspired by his seven years volunteering as a hospital engineer in Uganda.

    His role in Kiwoko Hospital was to improve the hospital’s technical capacity; looking after medical electronics, computer equipment and the electricity supply.

    He said the work “involved considerable planning and creativity to make sure vital services continued through the soaring temperatures of the dry season and water shortages - problems I had never experienced in Northern Ireland.”

    In 2018 Paul then launched Tendo Systems, named after the house he and his family lived in on the grounds of Kiwoko Hospital. The company uses cloud-based technology to monitor and report on environmental factors. Paul said the systems are ideal for use in storage and refrigeration across industries such as food manufacturing, healthcare, laboratories and heritage.  

    He continued: “I realised in Uganda that technology has the power to predict and avoid problems and that’s where the idea for Tendo Systems came from. Our monitoring systems help businesses save money and increase profits by predicting and avoiding problems before it is too late.

    “Coping with power outages, lightning strikes and needing to improvise when spare parts were not available during my time in Uganda taught me to be creative when it comes to problem solving.”

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    He added that the “determination and dedication” of his Ugandan colleagus “still inspires and encourages” him and he hopes to continue to support the work of Kiwoko Hospital in the years ahead.

    Paul studied Electronics previously, before becoming an IT engineer with Fujitsu Services in 1997 and then moving into medical electronics in 2005 with Philips Healthcare. His wife worked for Abaana, a Bangor-based charity that builds schools in Uganda. During a trip in 2009, they visited Kiwoko Hospital which was set up by a Bangor GP in 1988. The hospital needed someone with a background in medical electronics and IT to develop the estates department. Paul said from this, “one thing led to another!”

    When asked about his most difficult situation as an engineer there, Paul said: “I could give 10 answers to this question! Power cuts are very common in rural Uganda. When we arrived in 2011, mains electricity would only be available two or three days a week and the hospital could not function without power.

    "Keeping the hospital generators working, without a supply of spare parts was the greatest on-going challenge. After lobbying various authorities for three years, in 2014 they built a new sub-station close to the hospital. Electricity up-time is now 95% which eases the pressure on the generators and the engineers.”

    Find more info on Tendo Systems here.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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