In 2011, African Innovation Foundation (AIF) started an initiative known as Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) to honor and encourage people who work towards the development of new and innovative products that will become a breakthrough in various fields such as manufacturing & service industry, health & well-being, agriculture & agribusiness, environment, energy & water and ICTs.IPA awards an amount of USD 150,000 to the winners and helps them in getting a global platform to share their innovative ideas.
This year, the Innovation Prize for Africa marked its fifth anniversary at Gaborone, Botswana. It received a whooping number of entries out of which they selected only 10 nominees. However, only three were announced as the winners. The first position was attained by Dr. Valentin Agon who was awarded $100,000. Imogen Wright and Dr. Eddy Agbo achieved second and third position respectively.
Among the winners, Nigeria’s Dr. Eddy Agbo received special award for Social Impact for his innovative healthcare solution to address Africa’s prevailing malaria burden. He invented a rapid non-blood diagnostic medical device known as Urine Test for Malaria (UMT) that can diagnose malaria in less than 25 minutes.
This breakthrough will be quite affective in healthcare sector for there is a lack of quick diagnosis in the case of Malaria. In most of the cases, the doctors prescribe anti-malaria medication whenever they detect a fever although it is known that not all fevers are due to malaria. If the patient does not get a quick diagnosis and treatment, he may face various complications such as kidney failure, build-up of lung fluid, aplastic anaemia and even death. At this stage, Agbo’s device will come into play. His UMT device is designed to detect malaria parasite proteins in the patient’s urine in a short span of time.
According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 660, 000 people die due to Malaria in Africa which has drastic effects on the economy and households. Keeping these reports in mind, Agbo’s innovative device proves to be a major revolution for the healthcare solutions in Africa.