Ugandan make finals for top prize with malaria

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A Ugandan man Mr Brian Gitta has been named a finalist for the prestigious Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

Mr Gitta, a computer scientist, has invented ‘Matibabu‘ a device that tests for malaria quickly, accurately and without drawing blood, 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.

Reports said of the 400,000 global deaths every year due to malaria, 90% are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaria kills more children under five in this region than HIV. All available tests for malaria require blood samples, which are invasive, expensive and time-consuming, and rely on well-resourced laboratories.

The finalists come from Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe. 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.

All four of our finalists have found novel ways to address critical challenges in their home countries – in fact, problems that are faced all over the world,” said Africa Prize judge, Rebecca Enonchong. “We’re proud to be part of the development of world-class African technologies, and to support emerging African entrepreneurs.

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.

Mr Brian hopes to become the Africa’ Prize’s first Ugandan winner.

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, is a prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers, from all disciplines, to develop local solutions to challenges in their communities.

Hauwa Mustapha