Ugandan IT engineer Wins Microsoft Global ICT Award


Wilson Kutegeka was just an ordinary man with no big ambitions. Coming to Kampala from Bukwali Village, Kabarole, was like a dream; scaling the heights to America seemingly impossible.

However, Kutegeka now not only has academic qualifications to his name, but has gone down in history as the first Ugandan to be recognised by Microsoft International. He recently received the Most Valuable Professional:Visual Basic award for this year.

The holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and a post-graduate diploma in computer science from Makerere University, Kutegeka beat off a challenge from over 2,000 professionals at the Microsoft Most Valuable Profesional (MVP)summit in Washington, US, to win the award.

Kutegeka's award-winning ClinicMaster Technology is used at the Joint Clinical Research Centre to monitor patients on ARVs. It was showcased at the award ceremony. The award comes with a fully-sponsored trip to the US to attend the prize giving ceremony, as well as a $2500(about sh2m) shopping voucher.

The winner is also entitled to the latest free Microsoft software and books. Kutegeka explains that he received the award because he was active in a technical discussion forum for Microsoft news groups, and as a result Microsoft easily spotted him.

Kutegeka says the ClinicMaster is a new generation healthcare information management and medical billing software. It automates patients' transactions and daily procedures in the clinic. It is being used by the Joint Clinical Research Centre to manage patients on ARVs.

"The algorithms (set of rules for solving problems) used in ClinicMaster, especially the one behind the search engine was part of what the Microsoft review board looked at before I was awarded the MVP," he says.

He notes that it is important to change the perception that healthcare management software should be thought about only where there is need for clinical statistics. "Health management software should be part of the plan while setting up a clinic or hospital," he says.

Before joining the high-tech world, the 35-year-old was a high school teacher of physics and mathematics at St. Leo's College, Kyegobe in Fort Portal. He says he was attracted to the ICT industry when he developed an interest in programming. "Programming became a passion whereby I found myself wanting to do more out of self-drive and self-training," he notes.

"Because the software industry in the region is still virgin, a lot of processes are still manual especially in the health sector. This gives me the courage to develop innovative software such as ClinicMaster that automates clinical processes in hospitals or clinics," he adds.

The fact that most software currently in use does not fully meet users' expectations, Kutegeka says, is another driving force for him to do research and come up with solutions.

Close to 2000 other professionals were awarded in different categories this year. Six winners came from Africa. South Africa had three; Nigeria, Uganda and Algeria all had one.

The New Vision