Is Uganda’s Matibabu Africa’s next big e-health innovation?
Africa is increasingly gaining a reputation in the e-health space, thanks to the innovatives solutions developed by the likes of LifeQ, Vula Mobile and hearScreen. A young Ugandan, Makerere University graduate Brian Gitta, may well have the next one on his hands. His company, thinkIT, has developed Matibabu, a non-invasive device used to test for malaria, with smartphones used for diagnosis.
The concept came about because Gitta was fed up of needles.
“I was already getting injections three times a day to fight off a foodborne illness. But as my fever spiked and the pain in my joints worsened, I suspected I was suffering yet another occurrence of malaria, the disease I had contracted as a child and currently kills one child every minute in the developing world,” he told Disrupt Africa.
This suspicion was confirmed by a nurse at a local clinic, using a needle and syringe.
“I hated the needles and kept thinking of ways people could be diagnosed without pain,” Gitta said.
That puzzle was still on his mind weeks later as he began his studies in computer science at Makerere University, and he started thinking about ways technology could be used to improve malaria detection.