Ugandan Software Engineer Wins the Prestigious Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation


Brian Gitta, a 24-year-old Ugandan software engineer has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, with his project ‘Matibabu‘ –making him the first Ugandan and the youngest winner of the prize so far.

Related Post: Nigerian Engineer Chosen as a Finalist on the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, Winner to Receive £25,000

At an awards ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya on 13th June 2018, the 4 finalists from selected from 16 shortlisted entrants, across 7 countries in sub-Saharan Africa made their pitches before a panel after which a live audience voted for the most promising engineering innovation. Gitta emerged the winner, taking home the first prize of £25,000 (=124 million Ugandan shillings).

The project, which is named Matibabu (meaning ‘medical centre’ in Swahili), is a device that tests for malaria without drawing blood and was developed by Gitta and his team. The reusable device works by clipping onto a patient’s finger and a beam of red light shines through the patient’s finger, detecting changes in the shape, colour, and concentration of red blood cells, all of which are affected by malaria all this within one minute. After the test, the results are available on a mobile phone that is linked to the device.

The device was made to easy to use, requiring no expertise to operate and is also low-cost, aimed at individuals, health centres and diagnostic suppliers. Matibabu is currently undergoing testing in partnership with a national hospital in Uganda, and is sourcing suppliers for the sensitive magnetic and laser components required to scale up production.

Related Post: Celebrating Innovation: Godwin Benson’s Tuteria Wins Africa Prizer

Commenting on his victory, Gita said:

We are incredibly honoured to win the Africa Prize – it’s such a big achievement for us, because it means that we can better manage production in order to scale clinical trials and prove ourselves to regulators. The recognition will help us open up partnership opportunities – which is what we need most at the moment.

The three runners-up Collins Saguru, (a Zimbabwean working in South Africa, who madeAltMet, a low-cost, environmentally-friendly method for recovering precious metals from car parts), Ifediora Ugochukwu (a Nigerian who made iMeter, an intelligent metering system that gives Nigerian users transparency and control over their electricity supply), and Michael Asante-Afrifa (a Ghanaian with Science Set, a mini science lab that contains specially developed materials for experiments), were all recipients of the £10,000 cash prize.

The fifth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is now open for Individuals and small teams living and working in sub-Saharan Africa, and who have an engineering innovation. You can click here to apply.

Launched in 2014, The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers, from all disciplines, to develop innovations that address crucial problems in their communities in a new, appropriate way.

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