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How Ugandan inventor Brian Turyabagye’s creation is saving lives.

Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. Especially in Africa, the disease is greatly affecting families. Luckily, Ugandan inventor Brian Turyabagye has created a response to the chilling statistics.

The need:

Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi, and spreads through air-borne transmission in sneezes and coughs. The disease is entirely preventable with accurate diagnosis, immunization, adequate nutrition, and by addressing environmental factors. According to the World health Organisation, pneumonia is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The statistics are terrifying. Pneumonia accounts for 16% of all deaths of children under 5 years old, killing 920 136 children in 2015. Turyabagye’s business partner Olivia Koburongo herself experienced loss from pneumonia. Her grandmother had been misdiagnosed with malaria, and ended up passing away from it. According to Turyabagye, this misdiagnosis is incredibly common, especially with infants. According to UNICEF, pneumonia kills half a million children under five each year in sub-Saharan Africa. But thanks to some enterprising young minds, there is hope.

How it works:

Ugandan inventor Brian Turyabagye has developed a response to the terrible statistics. Turyabagye, along with business partner Olivia Koburongo worked alongside medical experts and Turyabagye’s tutor Mwikirize Cosmas at the University of Makerere in Uganda in order to create an effective response.

The team invented a biomedical smart jacket that rapidly increases the accuracy and speed of diagnosing pneumonia.  It is designed for early diagnosis and continuous monitoring of pneumonia patients. The smart jacket acts like a stethoscope. It stretches across cross the whole chest and the side of a patient’s body. It surveys specific points on the lungs for symptoms of pneumonia, characterised by a swelling of the lungs caused by infection. The jacket is connected to a mobile phone via Bluetooth which sends, records and analyses the medical data, ready for a healthcare professional to make an informed diagnosis. This jacket thus helps minimize the risk of human error.

Although still in its prototype phase, the smart jacket has been received well, even scooping up acclaim. Turyabagye was the winner of Pitch@Palace Africa 2017, an event organized to support African entrepreneurs. He was also shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize 2017.

Know of any other African entrepreneurs changing Africa for the better? Let us know in the comments below!

[Source: CNN –]

[Source: World Health Organisation –]

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