If all goes well, malaria will soon be diagnosed using an African invented device that detects the parasites without actually drawing blood from the patient.
Brain Gitta is a Ugandan computer scientist behind this innovation and his device is listed among the finalists for the prestigious 2018 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
According to Gitta, his device clips into the users’ finger and the results are obtained within a period of one minute.
A red beam of laser light pierces through the user’s finger and detects changes in shape, colour and concentration of red blood cells, all of which are affected by malaria.
He says no special expertise is needed to operate the device.
Gittas is among other finalists from Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, with the latter working in South Africa. They were chosen for engineering innovations that provide new solutions.
The finalists were selected from a pool of 16 shortlisted candidates from seven countries spanning sub-Saharan Africa.
For the first time, Zimbabwe and Ghana are represented by Africa Prize finalists.
“All 16 candidates have received tailored business mentorship, developing skills that last a lifetime,” said Africa prize judge, Rebecca Enonchong.
For the past six months, 16 talented entrepreneurs from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda underwent intensive training and mentoring from international business leaders and experts.
Enonchong said engineers are among the best problem solvers in the world – and it’s imperative to support those who embark on business ventures that advance technology in all fields.
On 13 June, four finalists chosen from the group will pitch their projects to the audience and the convened judging panel for the chance to win the 2018 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation and £25,000.
Three runners-up will win £10,000 each, and the entire shortlist will showcase their innovations at an open exhibition. Join us at this special celebration event to meet them all and help our judges select the winner.
Meanwhile, Gittas device comes at a time 400,000 global deaths every year are due to malaria, 90% are in sub-Saharan Africa. All available tests for malaria require blood samples, which are invasive, expensive and time-consuming, and rely on well-resourced laboratories.
The 2018 finalists tackle challenges in STEM education, household energy use, responsible resource use in the automotive industry and appropriate medical technologies for Africa.