Did You Know IPA rewards diverse innovations in Africa (Part 2)

Did You Know IPA rewards diverse innovations in Africa (Part 2)

Last week, the Innovation Prize for Africa announced their nominees for this years event, which will take place in Accra, Ghana in July. Over the last 5 years, the IPA has become one of the most anticipated innovation events in Africa. Over the years they have handed out around $1 million to incredible innovations and startups throughout the African continent.

The IPA was created 5 years ago by the African Innovation Foundation, who are based in Switzerland and aim to “increase the prosperity of Africans by catalysing the innovation spirit in Africa. We want to see needs-based innovation and change happen.” AIF also support various other projects across Africa, including the African Law Library, which we covered in Inventive Africa.

In our last blog, we featured 3 of the nominees from the IPA. This years nominees are so diverse, exciting and inspirational that it was not possible to cover them all in one blog. This year, 4 of the nominees were in the health sector. Health innovations have features widely on Inventive Africa and have covered anything from mobile phones used in eye care, to CT scanners. Here are our thoughts on a few more of the nominees and their innovations from the health category.

Rapid Detection of Many Infections Using Only One Test

Getting sicknesses diagnosed in Africa can be time consuming and frustrating. I have sat for many an hour in hospital waiting for results to come through. Sometimes they come back as negative and then, the process starts again to diagnose the illness. I have heard horror stories of children being medicine for a headache, rather than malaria after being wrongly diagnosed.

This new technology, developed by Dougbeh-Chris Nyan in Liberia, enables doctors to make a diagnosis on many infections at the same time within 40 minutes. This technology not only cuts down on waiting times, it also ensures that even when the diagnostics systems and expertise are limited, patients can get a reliable diagnosis, and there for be treated correctly. It is simple to use and can be deployed anywhere, so it is perfect for remote rural areas.

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This test could have made a huge difference during the ebola epidemic

In the example above, where the young lad was misdiagnosed purely on his symptoms, this technology can diagnose between infections that have similar symptoms such as malaria, ebola, and yellow fever. In the case of these dangerous highly infectious diseases, the short turn around time in diagnosis will significantly cut the risk of an infection spreading down.

Sweat TB Test 

In 2015 there were 2.7 million cases of TB in Africa, 750,000 of whom died from the infectious disease. TB, which effects the lungs, is particularly difficult for those who suffer from HIV. It is estimated that over 3 million incidents of TB are missed due to misdiagnosis and other cases being missed altogether. In order to diagnose TB, patients must often go to a clinic on various occasions, giving a sample of sputum, for high tech diagnosis. That is only the lucky patients, as many rural regions of Africa do not have the facilities to test for TB.

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The Sweat TB test makes the process a lot quicker, and without the need for a needle or any invasiveness. The test “leverages a TB specific marker in the sweat of patients, to produce a point- of- care test to detect TB”. Like so many innovations in the health sector in Africa at the moment, this gives the chance for patients, no matter how remote or rural to have a test for TB and get the results, and medicine within the same short visit to the clinic. This could revolutionise TB care in Africa and all across the world.

Dr. CADx

As we have pointed out again and again, access to decent health care can be difficult in parts of Africa. Wrong diagnosis, lack of equipment, lack of a nearby health facility, or even a shortage in specialists can impact on the quality of health care. In previous blogs we have shown how some innovations are bringing specialists to patients remotely through mobile devices.

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CT scan can be quickly analysed by the software

Dr CADx, which we also featured on Inventive Africa 7 months ago,  is a software solution that helps doctors and health care workers diagnose medical images more accurately. Due to the scarcity of radiologists on the continent, most medical images are read by general doctors or other health care workers who lack expertise and end up misdiagnosing more than 30% of the cases that they review. As a result, millions of patients fail to get the right treatment or the treatment is delayed leading to more complications and even death. Dr CADx uses deep learning to interpret medical images and achieve an accuracy of 82% an improvement over the 70% average for radiologists. Dr CADx is designed to work in low resource settings with poor internet connectivity opening it up for use in many rural settings in Africa.

We still haven’t covered all the cool innovations featured in the IPA shortlist, so expect a part 3 covering the rest! The final will be held in Ghana next month, so keep your eyes open for the winner!

If you know of an innovation that is changing lives, or you want to be a guest blogger get in contact with us on Twitter @InventiveAfrica or via email, and please share the blog with your network on Twitter and FacebookAlso, we have a new Facebook page! Please like it, and carry on the dialogue about African Innovation there!

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Did You Know IPA rewards diverse innovations in Africa?

Did You Know IPA rewards diverse innovations in Africa?

Probably the most exciting time of the year with regards to African innovation is when the Innovation Prize for Africa announces its nominees. Then 10 nominees are always inspiring ideas that have the potential to create great change on the African continent. In previous years we have seen innovations like The Tryctor, offers many the access to smaller cheaper farm machinery, Api Palu, a natural anti malaria treatment,  and the Green Tower, which uses solar to create massive electricity savings to households. This years nominations are no different with incredible innovations and examples of African created technology across various different sectors. Usually we pick three or four to innovations from the nominees to feature in a blog. This year, there are so many exciting ideas that it will need a part two and three to fit them all in!

Go to Part 2 of the IPA blog here

Go to Part 3 of the IPA blog here

Check out some of the nominees below:

FarmDrive

There is no surprise the FarmDrive have made the list. Over the last year they have received acclaim from all over Africa and outside it. (Including from Inventive Africa!). 

FarmDrive have developed a mobile phone application that enables small holder farmers to gain access to credit. Traditionally, there is little data about individual farmers and they pose a credit risk to banks. FarmDrive collects data from various sources, such as individual data, social data, environmental data and satellite date, to Continue reading “Did You Know IPA rewards diverse innovations in Africa?”

Did You Know technology is changing Africa’s health Sector?

Did You Know technology is changing Africa’s health Sector?

The worldwide digital revolution has changed many industries. Automations are changing anything from factories to marketing departments. More and more people are connected to each other, and it communicating across borders is becoming easier and easier. In fact, during my time in Ghana, in many cases I had a better connection than some areas in the UK.

The health system has, fortunately, not been immune to those changes. There have been both big and small changes in the health sector. Super computers incredible power means research into diseases is becoming more efficient with huge amounts of data being analysed in a fraction of the time. Patients records are now mostly digitised, making it easier for doctors to quickly diagnose a problem. In fact, the digitilisation of records “can result in 40% faster checking of medical records during preparation and post processing of ward rounds in hospital”.

Technology is making a huge difference. Just a small thing like increasing the speed in which doctors can care for patients means better health care for more patients. (And hopefully less mysterious deaths) We have spoken a lot about health tech here on Inventive Africa. Mobile phones are enabling a great deal of felixbility for patients. They can now have contact with doctors remotely, and even send in photos for diagnosis. Other incredible health innovations coming out of Africa include 3D printing medical supplies out of recycled plastic, cheaper, smaller, lighter MRI scanners, loads of malaria innovations and drones delivering blood in Rwanda!

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LifeBlood advertising for blood

LifeBlood

The Zipline drone solution is world changing innovation. They have put into practice drone deliveries before any of the main players like Amazon. But, what happens when there is a shortage of blood. Yes, it is great to be able to deliver it anywhere, but wouldn’t it be better to have the blood already in situ? That is a problem that LifeBank, in Nigeria are trying to solve. Set up by Temie Giwa-Tumosun, who was recently invited to the World Economic Forum on Africa, LifeBank is essentially a blood market place.

The app is an “intuitive blood donor database” that aims at inspiring Africans to give blood in their communities. The app brings together hospital and the blood bank, so they know exactly what is needed, what is available and if there is a shortage, who to target. They then deliver it directly to the hospital, on time. There is, of course, like all African apps these days, a simple payment system integrated into the app.

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Donate blood to LifeBlood

This system is sure to save many lives. Firstly, mobilising blood donations in local communities is incredibly important. If the blood is on hand nearby, it can be delivered at short notice, no need to mobilise a drone from a 100 km away. People often need blood for transfusions at short notice, especially in the case of road traffic accident victims.

AfyaPap

A great side effect of digitalisation is access to information. When suffering from a chronic illness, it is important to be up to date on the latest information as well as to Continue reading “Did You Know technology is changing Africa’s health Sector?”

Did You Know that African Mobile Apps are solving African Problems?

Did You Know that African Mobile Apps are solving African Problems?

In Africa, data prices are becoming more competitive, smart and feature phones are more accessible to people across the continent, and more people have access to mobile internet. This increased usage of phones means there is space for more and more mobile phone applications, that solve problems specific to Africa. More and more developers in Africa are turning to build apps for their countries, in the hope that there creation will be the next best thing in the African tech world.

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A lot of the innovations we are seeing in the mobile world within Africa are coming out of Easters and Southern Africa, but Earlier this month, the West Africa Mobile Awards unveiled this years 10 winners, seeking to bring the focus back to the tech excellence in West Africa. With over 1040 applicants from 14 countries, the awards were hotly contested. Awards were given in the areas of commerce and retail, Fintech, Mobile education, mobile innovation, mobile marketing campaign and social impact, social news and entertainment.

A couple of apps that we have featured previously on Inventive Africa picked up awards. Flutterwave, took home the Fintech award and BattaBox Continue reading “Did You Know that African Mobile Apps are solving African Problems?”