Ugandan start-up gets funding for malaria detection app


President Yoweri Museveni has a promised a group of Ugandan software developers a cash boost to help develop their mobile app which digitally diagnoses malaria without the need of drawing blood

They call it Matibabu; an innovative mobile phone app which is built to diagnose malaria in a user without the need to draw blood.

Josiah Kavuma, Simon Lubambo, Joshua Businge and Brian Gitta developed the kit back in their days as university computer science student over two years ago. While exhibiting the testing kit at the Mozilla Festival East Africa on Saturday, their invention caught the keen eye of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.

According to Ugandan news platform, New Vision, President Museveni was so impressed by the invention that he indicated his willingness to pay the US$55,000 they need out of his own pocket.

“I can sell some of my cows and see how to meet that cost,” Museveni told group, to much approval from the onlooking crowd.

How it works is that a custom-made portable device called a matiscope, is connected to a smartphone, to do a rapid diagnostic test. The user’s finger is then inserted into the matiscope and the application uses a red beam of light to penetrate the skin and detect the red blood cells.

The president was extremely enthused by Matibabu and some of the other developments at the festival and said it was indicative of a revival of interest in the country’s tech developments.

“I am very happy that there is a renaissance. I can see that there is a new generation of people who have woken up,” Museveni said. he added that start-ups should invest their efforts into supporting key areas of the economy in order to make money from them, without the influence of outside donors.

Malaria is the leading cause of illness in Uganda and accounts for 25 – 40% of outpatient visits in health facilities. It’s also responsible for almost half of the country’s inpatient peadiatric deaths. It is present in 95% of the country and all Ugandan residents are at risk.

Source: New Vision