Loide Uushona and Pendapala Shivuka co-founded ProQuest, a Namibian-owned medical laboratory with a vision to become the leading innovative force in the evolution of Medical Science.
The duo founded the laboratory, which offers a wide range of services including but not limited to research and innovation services in the area of microbiology, clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, and blood transfusion services in their three-bedroom apartment in 2015.
Uushona and Pendapala both Biomedical Scientists by profession with a combined 14 years’ experience have always wanted to start their own practices and break the stagnation in the field without any growth course.
“Since university, the dream was always to open a laboratory and after I managed the second biggest blood banking laboratory in the country, we decided that we were ready to take that step in 2015,” Uushona told Startup.info.
“Medical Laboratory science in Namibia is quite one-note and that becomes routine. I was always of the opinion that if we as young scientists wanted to change that, we had to be bold enough to be at the forefront of that change. We decided to do just that,” she added.
After scaling many challenges, the duo would in 2015 begin the journey to redefine Namibia’s medical laboratory field. ProQuest is the youngest medical laboratory in Namibia and the only facility in the country that incorporates both research and innovation as services.
“Starting off was very difficult and it still continues to be difficult,” Uushona told The Patriot. “The main labs are normally focused on testing, there is very little research and innovation taking place, one of our goals, therefore, was to come up with a different model for the industry as well as for younger medical scientists.”
She added: “The frustration came from the fact that there was no growth trajectory in the field in that area which forced us to venture on our own to transform healthcare in Namibia and by extension the African continent. We also want to challenge our fellow youth to innovate solutions that are African based.”
Now that their dreams had been turned into reality, the young scientists are now focused on creating employment for other young brains with the aim of expanding into Angola, “because there is potential for growth there and we have come to realize that their healthcare system is struggling, it would be nice to offer a helping hand to our neighbors.”