Bloodless test detects malaria with light, wins prize
A Ugandan inventor has won a major prize for a device which tests for malaria without drawing blood.
Brian Gitta, 24, won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for a device that detects tell-tale signs of malaria by shining a red beam of light on the patient’s finger, Voice of America reported.
The diagnosis is ready to be shared to a mobile phone in a minute.
He developed the device, called Matibabu, after blood tests failed to diagnose his own malaria.
Gitta this month was awarded the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The award by the Royal Academy of Engineering in Britain comes with $32,940.
Malaria is the leading cause of death in Uganda, but it took four blood tests to diagnose Mr Gitta with the disease, told Shafik Sekitto, who is part of the Matibabu team.
“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, clips onto a patient’s finger and does not require a specialist to operate.
Its red beam can detect changes in the colour, shape and concentration of red blood cells – all of which are affected by malaria.
The majority of global deaths caused by malaria – usually transmitted by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito – occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
His team hopes the device can one day be used as a way to better detect malaria across the continent.