No More Pricks For Malaria Diagnosis, Thanks To Uganda’s Matibabu App
Malaria is still the leading killer disease in the world, it kills twice the number of people HIV kills. It is estimated that four million people die every year, as a result of succumbing to this disease. Statistics has it that in every 60 seconds, a child dies from Malaria it also leads to miscarriages among pregnant women, and it lowers people’s productivity.
Despite this, most people around the world are indifferent to it. People are not as alarmed about Malaria as they are with AIDS, Ebola and Tuberculosis among other. This indifference was the same treatment four Makerere University students, Simon Lumbambo, Josiah Kavuma, Joshua Mulessi and Brian Gitta gave the disease. That was until, they too suffered from the illness.
“Each of us have personally suffered from malaria multiple times. In Brian’s last experience with malaria, the disease progressed so far Brian was bed-ridden, and the invasive sampling inspired Matibabu, for early non-invasive early detection,” said Gitta.
Matibabu is the name these four young innovators gave to their Windows Phone App; that can be effectively used for early and non-invasive diagnosis of malaria. The Matibabu app works by using the phone and a customised hardware (Matiscope) to diagnose a patient of malaria without having to prick the patient in order to test for malaria in the blood. The app can diagnose whether or not a patient has malaria in a matter of a minute.
“We also obtain statistics for malaria in the world, this helps us run a prediction model on the occurrences and effects of malaria. Such data sets are available for subscription. We also do from the sales from the hardware as well as partnership from malaria initiatives,” said Gitta.
These innovators have the view that human health is quite delicate, even more so when incorporating technology into human health. You cannot take chances with imperfections when it comes to matters dealing with the human health. So the innovators are tasked with the hardest part of ensuring that the hardware they are building is as accurate as possible. The only competition in the market, their technology face, is from invasive techniques for malaria diagnosis, and they are set to ensure that such diagnosis technology becomes a thing of the past.
The conventional diagnosis for malaria requires doctors to take the patient’s blood and observe it under a microscope or molecular diagnostic methods. According to the Matibabu team, microscopes can’t detect the malaria plasmodium parasite in the blood early enough due to under sampling since molecular diagnostics don’t give a good counting of the plasmodium parasite.
Matibabu strong selling point is that it increases the speed of diagnosing the plasmodium parasite and even better there is no need for blood sampling hence sparing the patient from needle pricks. The team behind Matibabu are among the chosen Top 40 Startups chosen to pitch DEMO Africa in Lagos, Nigeria come September, 2014.