Malaria is a fatal disease contracted by human beings when bitten by a mosquito. The species that carry the malaria virus is female anopheles mosquito. Nevertheless, malaria is preventable and curable. According to Unicef, the UN’s children agency, 2,500 children lose lives to malaria daily. Consequently, it is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years. This shows that something needs to be done to correct the situation. The malaria detection device invented by Ethiopian students is an example of a solution to change the status quo.
Torpout Nyarikjor, an engineering student at Dilla University in Ethiopia is the mind behind “Tor”. This is a malaria detection device that does not involve the removal of blood. The device is easy to use since the patients need to only insert a finger inside it. Upon inserting, this device checks whether the blood has the malaria parasite or not through lasers in it. Contrary to the blood tests usually taken in clinics, this device gives instant results. The malaria detection device invented by Ethiopian students has helped diagnose the disease quickly, thus treat it on time.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2017, 92% of malaria cases were from sub-Saharan Africa. Another report showed that half of all global malaria cases came from African countries. That is Nigeria (25%), the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC (11%), Mozambique (5%), and Uganda (4%). These statistics show that Africa needs to have technology solutions for such problems.
The 24-year-old youngster was inspired by the death of his brother who was infected with malaria. “When I was young, I witnessed my older brother die of malaria. At the time I felt deeply sad and believed that I could one day stop it, but I didn’t know how.” Sure enough, this smart guy managed to stop this problem.
The brilliant youngster of this game-changer device hopes to go back after completing his studies. While in the Western city of Gambella, he will mentor other youths. As a result, innovative projects will be supported fully.
Awards for the device
The bright guy and his device participated in a national innovation competition. The SolveIT competition was sponsored by the U.S Embassy, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It was organized by iCog Labs, a company in Ethiopia’s capital, Adis Ababa, that works on Artificial Intelligence projects. SolveIT competition inspires young innovators in Ethiopia to provide technology solutions to problems.
The malaria detection device invented by Ethiopian students has many benefits. One of them is that it does not require the pricking of fingers to take a blood sample. It’s also instant to ensure that diagnosis is done timely. Hence, treatment is done quickly, in the event of malaria infection.
Even though this device never won in the national competition finals, its inventor has hopes to find funding. He says that the $3,400 cash prize taken by a 3D printer project was just a pity. According to him, the device is a game-changer and deserves more than a mere cash prize. Any support will be critical in developing the device further to be 100% effective. Then, anyone who is able to read can use it. That’s the other thing that makes everything easier and reliable.