Brian Gitta is a 24-year-old software engineer who just made history as the youngest and first Ugandan to win the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation for his malaria testing device called Matibabu, reports OkayAfrica.
After suffering from malaria himself, and going undiagnosed for several months, Gitta was determined to prevent the same thing from happening to other people. As a solution, he created Matibabu, which means "treatment" in Swahili. Rather than going through the hassle of drawing blood, Matibabu only requires the person to shine the device’s red light on their finger. The device will then examine that person’s blood cells and immediately send the results to that person’s phone.
"Matibabu is simply a game-changer,” Africa Prize for Engineering Judge Rebecca Enonchong said in a statement. “It’s a perfect example of how engineering can unlock development – in this case by improving health."
As a recipient of this award, Gitta and his team will receive $33,000, along with mentorship and continued support for their malaria testing device.
“The recognition will help us open up partnership opportunities – which is what we need the most at the moment,” Gitta tells BBC.
Right now, he and his team are writing an academic paper on their findings and have been approached by international researchers who are performing field trials on the device.
Currently, malaria is the leading cause of death in Uganda. While the Matibabu device is not available to the public market today, Gitta and his team are working to pass a number of regulators that will allow people across the continent to have access to this painless testing tool.