Tag: malaria

Ugandan Inventor Brian Gitta, 24, Wins Royal Academy of Engineering’s Prestigious Africa Prize for Bloodless Malaria Test

Brian Gitta, a 24-year-old Ugandan, became the youngest winner of the Africa Prize this week for developing a bloodless test for malaria. (Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Engineering/Twitter)

by Sara Shayanian via upi.com

June 14 (UPI) — A Ugandan inventor has won the Royal Academy of Engineering‘s prestigious Africa Prize for developing a method of testing for malaria without drawing blood.

Brian Gitta, 24, became the prize’s youngest winner Wednesday after he and his team developed Matibabu, or “medical center” in Swahili, the Royal Academy of Engineering said in a statement.

Gitta’s low-cost, reusable invention clips onto a patient’s finger and provides a result within 60 seconds on a mobile phone. A red beam shines through the user’s finger to detect changes in shape, color and concentration of red blood cells — all of which are affected by malaria.

“We are very proud of this year’s winner. It’s a perfect example of how engineering can unlock development — in this case by improving healthcare,” Africa Prize judge Rebecca Enonchong said. “Matibabu is simply a game-changer.”

Shafik Sekitto, a member of the Matibabu team, told BBC News Gitta came up with the idea for a bloodless test after it once took four normal blood tests for medics to diagnose him with malaria — the leading cause of death in Uganda. “[Gitta] brought up the idea: ‘Why can’t we find a new way of using the skills we have found in computer science, of diagnosing a disease without having to prick somebody?” Sekitto said.

Gitta won more than $33,000 as the first-place winner at a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, where Africa Prize judges and a live audience voted for the most promising engineering innovation. Three runners-up won more than $13,000 each. “We are incredibly honored to win the Africa Prize — it’s such a big achievement for us, because it means that we can better manage production in order to scale clinical trials and prove ourselves to regulators,” Gitta said.

“The recognition will help us open up partnership opportunities — which is what we need most at the moment.”

The award, founded by Britain’s Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014, is Africa’s biggest prize for engineering innovation.

Source: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2018/06/14/Ugandan-inventor-wins-Africa-Prize-for-bloodless-malaria-test/9671528995279/

Texting Becomes a Health Tool in Kenya

Red Cross volunteer uses mobile phone RAMP survey to gather health information in rural Kenya.  (Credit: IFRC)

Mobile phone use in Africa has spread far, wide and fast. By the end of last year, it was estimated that 70 percent of the population would have a mobile phone. Now, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says it’s using the technology to save lives.In Kenya, the IFRC has developed the Rapid Mobile Phone-based survey, otherwise known as RAMP. It allows the medical aid group to learn a lot about the health of people in remote, rural communities in very little time.  Jason Peat, the senior health officer for malaria, says the idea for the survey came from IFRC volunteers.

“There are volunteers using those mobile phones to communicate. They’re doing it two ways. They’re using them as a regular phone, but more often than not we see them use the phones to send text messages back and forth because they’re a very inexpensive way to communicate. Red Cross volunteers and other community health workers at a very local level were already figuring out a way to manage activities, to manage programs and not just health programs, but all programs using mobile phones,” he said.

Continue reading “Texting Becomes a Health Tool in Kenya”

African Students Create Anti-Malaria Soap, Win Business Competition

malaria soap cropped

Moctar Dembele (pictured right) and Gerard Niyondiko (pictured) have won the Global Science Venture (GSVC) competition for creating an anti-malaria repellent soap, reports CP-Africa.  Burkina Faso native Dembele and Burundi native Niyondiko created Faso Soap from different herbs, including karate citronella. According to the product profile:

In many countries of tropical Africa, malaria is the leading cause of death for the population. It represents 30-40% of hospital admissions and up to 40% of public health expenditure.

Solution:  Production and marketing of soap “mosquito,” based on shea butter and enriched with essential oils of lemongrass and concern, to protect its users from malaria.

Impact:  Reduction massive number of people affected by malaria, especially among the poorest and basic hygiene.

According to Niyondiko, the soap will initially be available in African countries hit hardest by malaria. “The soap will be available first here, and then given to NGO.”

Watch the Faso Soap GSVC pitch below:

 

“We want a simple solution, because every one uses soaps, even in the very poor communities,” Dembélé added.

Dembele and Niyondiko have not only helped Africa with their creation, they’ve also made history.

They are also the first non-Americans to win the GSVC, which challenges students across the world to create their own business plans for social ventures. The grand prize is $25,000.

According to the World Health Organization, the African continent accounts for 85 percent of malaria cases and 90 percent of malaria deaths worldwide. Eighty-five percent of those deaths occur in children under 5 years old.

article by Hannington Dia via newsone.com