Ugandan innovator whose device detects malaria without drawing blood has made it into the finals of the prestigious 2018 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
The innovation, Matibabu tests for malaria quickly, accurately and without drawing blood. Matibabu, which means ‘medical centre’ in Swahili, was developed by computer scientist Brian Gitta.
It is a low cost, reusable device that clips onto the user’s finger. The results are available within one minute and no special expertise is required to operate it.
A red beam of laser light shone through the user’s finger detects changes in the shape, colour and concentration of red blood cells, all of which are affected by malaria.
The finalists were selected from a pool of 16 shortlisted candidates from seven countries spanning sub-Saharan Africa.
The 2018 finalists tackle challenges in STEM education, household energy use, responsible resource use in the automotive industry and appropriate medical technologies for Africa.
The four finalists will pitch their innovations to a panel of judges and a live audience in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday 13 June 2018. The winner will be announced at the event and will receive £25,000 with £10,000 awarded to each of the runners up.
The other 12 candidates on the 2018 Africa Prize shortlist are:
• Alvin Kabwama from Uganda with UriSAF Maternal and Sexual Reproductive Health Care Kit, which tests urine quickly, accurately and affordably
• Arthur Woniala from Uganda with Khainza Energy Gas, a cheap biogas made from manure and safe for household use
• Brian Mwiti Mwenda from Kenya with The Sixth Sense, a handheld echolocation device with ultrasonic sensors that alert visually impaired users to objects nearby
• Daniel Taylor from Ghana with HWESOMAME, a low-cost smart sensor that accurately detects soil conditions and notifies farmers via text or phone call
• Emeka Nwachinemere from Nigeria with Kitovu, an online platform that helps farmers in remote locations to increase crop yields and sell their produce
• Esther Gacicio from Kenya with eLearning Solutions, an interactive online programme that hosts courses for individuals or serves as a tool for training institutions
• Lawrence Okettayot from Uganda with Sparky Dryer, a low-tech dehydrator that dries fruit and vegetables to extend their shelf life and reduce food wastage
• Monicah Mumbi Wambugu from Kenya with Loanbee, a mobile phone application that calculates the user’s credit scores and grants micro-loans
• Nges Njungle from Cameroon with Muzikol, an online music marketing and social media app designed to meet all the career needs of musicians
• Nnaemeka Chidiebere Ikegwuono from Nigeria with ColdHubs, solar-powered walk-in cold rooms that extend the life of perishable food tenfold
• Peter Kariuki from Rwanda with SafeMotos, an app that connects commuters to the safest motorcycle drivers in Kigali, Rwanda
• Shalton Mphodisa Mothwa from South Africa with AEON Power Bag, which allows users to charge their phones on the go by converting radio waves and solar energy into power.