Uganda: Matibabu Inventor Wins Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation
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A Ugandan software engineer, Brian Gitta cashed-in a GBP25,000 in the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation by UK Royal Academy of Engineering for his malaria diagnosing machine, Matibabu. He was selected amongst 16 shortlisted candidates drawn from seven African countries chosen for their new innovative engineering solutions.
So far, Gitta is the first Ugandan to win the prize and as of now, the youngest to have ever won it. What engineering innovation did the young Ugandan and team share with the world?
It is the name of the bloodless malaria detecting machine invented by Gitta and team members. Matibabu is a Swahili word that means ‘medical center’. The device carries out malaria tests without the use of blood samples from patients.
The device is reusable and of very low cost. The device clips onto the finger of a patient and requires no special expertise to be used. The results are given instantly within just a minute on a mobile phone that is linked to the device.
The award ceremony took place in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi where four finalists from sub-Sahara Africa gave their presentation to the public. According to one of the Africa Prize judges, Rebecca Enonchong, “We are very proud of this year’s winner. It’s a perfect example of how engineering can unlock development – in this case by improving healthcare,” she said. “Matibabu is simply a gamechanger”, she continued.
There were in all three runners-up who each went home with GBP10,000. This included Iferdiora Ugochukwu who presented his iMeter, “an intelligent metering system that gives users in Nigeria transparency and control” over their electricity supply.
Collins Saguru, a Zimbabwean who works in South Africa was also selected for his engineering innovation, AltMet. Meanwhile the third went to Michael Asante-Afrifa, a Ghanaian, for his mini-science lab that contents specially developed experiment materials.
Africa Prize for Engineering and Innovation was founded by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering dedicated to develop the entrepreneurial skills of engineers of African origin. It is in its fourt edition.