After blood tests failed to diagnose his own malaria, a 24-year old Ugandan, Brian Gitta has devised a means to diagnose malaria fever without a blood test.
Gitta won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa prize for inventing a device that could identify signs and symptoms of malaria by shining a red beam of light on the patient’s finger.
BBC reported the device, which has been named Matibabu will soon be shared on mobile devices.
Speaking on the Matibabu, Shafik Sekitto, a member of the team said, “[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?”
“Matibabu is simply a game-changer,” Rebecca Enonchong, Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation judge and Cameroonian technology entrepreneur, said in a statement.
“It’s a perfect example of how engineering can unlock development – in this case by improving healthcare.”
Matibabu, which means ‘treatment’ in Swahili works by clipping onto a patient finger. The device does not require a specialist to operate.
Mr. Sekito told BBC the Matibabu has gone through a number of regulators before it released into the market.
It is “not an easy journey because you have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the device is safe for human use”, he said.
However, the team who is currently writing an academic paper on their findings, have been approached by international researchers offering support, and are currently performing field trials on the device.
The prize was set up in 2014. It provides support, funding, mentoring and business training to the winners, the Royal Academy of Engineering said in a statement.
Mr. Gitta has also been awarded £25,000 ($33,000) in prize money from the Royal Academy of Engineering.
“The recognition will help us open up partnership opportunities – which is what we need most at the moment,” Mr. Gitta said in a statement.