BBC News reported this week how a young Ugandan student, Brian Gitta aged 26, has developed a point-of-care device to help diagnose one of the world’s most life-threatening diseases, malaria.
It was estimated that in 2015, there were 212 million cases of malaria recorded worldwide. Sub-Saharan Africa was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths. Around 303,000 African children died before their fifth birthday. (World Health Organization)
Cases of malaria are most common in children living in sub-Saharan Africa. Patients and their doctors depend on diagnosis and treatment within the first 24 hours to help prevent a mild case of malaria from developing into a more aggressive case that can result in death. The most common problem that prevents patients from receiving quick diagnosis and effective treatment is the time it takes them to reach their nearest hospital.
Brian, a student at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, suffered from the life-threatening disease malaria, coupled with Typhoid.
During his time spent in hospital, Brian imagined a pain-free mobile device, free of needles, that could deliver a quick diagnosis. Brian and his fellow students developed the Matibabu device four years ago. The device is a cost-effective solution that can be reused and doesn’t require drawing blood.
The latest model of the Matibabu device can detect malaria in just two minutes without the need for a blood sample so there is no requirement for a medical professional. The device can be used by local communities. By connecting Matibabu to a smartphone, it can collect data and alert health teams of malaria outbreaks.
Brian is now waiting to receive the Royal Academy of Engineering in Africa innovation prize for his malaria testing device.
The device is still in its prototype stage and only detects 80% of malaria cases, while the international standard is 99%. Brian is currently seeking funding to bring the device to market within the next two years. While there’s still work to be done, it’s an exciting innovation in point-of-care diagnostics.
Blue Frontier is a specialist development agency working in connected health. We’ve been developing connectivity solutions for healthcare organisations, charities and governments around the world since 2012.
We’re passionate about point-of-care device connectivity and believe it’s essential to improving patient diagnosis and treatment times. It’s also a key consideration for the World Health Organization’s recommended control strategy for poverty-related diseases.
Blue Frontier has developed the Connected Diagnostics Platform (CDP), which is a patient-centric system that integrates data into one platform to diagnose, treat and monitor patient health. It is a device agnostic system that enables clinics and labs to have an overview of test results and treatment outcomes all linked to the patient. Learn more about CDP.
At Blue Frontier we’re committed to driving change through connected diagnostics, we are currently developing a revolutionary connectivity product that will enable the secure and cost-effective transmission of data between medical devices and healthcare systems.
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