A 24-year-old Ugandan software engineer, Brian Gitta has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, with his project ‘Matibabu‘, a device that tests for malaria without drawing blood. So far, Gitta is the first Ugandan and the youngest ever winner of the prize.
Matibabu, which means ‘medical centre’ in Swahili, is a low-cost, reusable device that clips onto a patient’s finger, requiring no specialist expertise to operate. The results are available within one minute on a mobile phone that is linked to the device.
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers, from all disciplines, to develop innovations that address crucial problems in their communities in a new, appropriate way.
Gitta wins the first prize of UK £25,000. At an awards ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya on 13 June, four finalists from across sub-Saharan Africa presented before Africa Prize judges and a live audience voted for the most promising engineering innovation.
The 24-year old student and his team decided to develop the device after missing lectures, having had malaria several times. Matibabu is currently undergoing testing in partnership with a national hospital in Uganda and is sourcing suppliers for the sensitive magnetic and laser components required to scale up production.
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