Africa is home to a world first in transplant surgery using 3D-printed bones — just one in a slew of new technology and scalable solutions that are helping improve and save lives across the continent.
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Advances in mobile technology allow for better healthcare and improved diagnosis in communities throughout Africa, including remote areas.
Here are 10 African innovators solving healthcare problems with tech.
Ghanaian doctor Ashifi Gogo is the innovative mind responsible for Sproxil Defender, an initiative that allows individual consumers to verify the authenticity of medicines and other products for free by way of text message, a mobile app, call centre or online. The Sproxil Defender solution has been used over 80-million times by consumers in six countries, according to the World Health Organization.
South Africa is no stranger to pioneering surgeries, and in March 2019 the country was once again at the center of a new medical intervention. This is thanks to professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team from the University of Pretoria who have developed a new surgical procedure using 3D-printed middle ear bones, for conductive hearing loss rehabilitation. In a two-hour surgery at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Tshifularo’s team performed successful transplant surgery on their first patient, 40-year-old Thabo Moshiliwa, who damaged his middle ear bone in a car accident, according to IOL.
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Belle Imagerie is a web platform that was launched in 2016 that helps to connect radiological centres, radiologists and patients for the correct interpretation of radiological examinations in real-time. This Android and web-based innovation was conceptualized and brought to life in Benin by Hans-Eddy Gbossa, according to AllAfrica.
Moka Lantum is the social entrepreneur behind Sagitarix is the Kenyan healthtech startup that invented the innovative mobile health information exchange called iSikCure which let’s users access quality medicine at the most affordable rates thanks to an innovative integration with digital prescriptions from providers. The software now serves over 60 health facilities in Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, and Nigeria, according to F6S.
Ugandan medical practitioner Dr Misaki Wayengera invented the Pan-Filovirus Rapid Diagnostic Test, an easy to use diagnostic tool that is designed for the early detection of fatal haemorrhagic fevers in remote rural villages, according to PCTechMagazine. Detecting such illnesses in rural areas has been a serious challenge, with many people contracting the disease and dying due to a lack of treatment options and early diagnostic tools in such areas.
Immanuel Hango’s company Namibia Chemicals has developed an innovative method of producing chlorine to fight cholera. The chlorine is extracted through the electrolysis of salt water using solar energy. This can then be used to fight cholera, which is often contracted from infected water, in an environmentally friendly way. Cholera outbreaks still occur across Africa, with Zimbabwe and Nigeria experiencing large numbers of infected people in 2018, according to News24.
Zimbabwean Dr Integrity Mchechesi’s passion for maternity and empowering pregnant patients led him to develop Afrimom, a text and mobile app that provide users with maternal, sexual and reproductive health support in English and other local languages. The platform also connects pregnant women to nearby obstetricians and maternity clinics, while providing access to paid emergency contraception and Antiretroviral therapy medication, according to SocialNews.
Gérard Niyondiko is the man from Burundi behind MAÏA, a long-lasting mosquito-repellent ointment which has been developed with the help of the Malaria Research and Training Center in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Malaria remains a major problem in Africa. There were 435,000 malaria deaths globally in 2017, with sub-Saharan Africa experiencing 92 percent of malaria cases and 93 percent of malaria deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
South African Louis Roux’s company, lIfeassay Diagnostics, has developed a new process for the manufacture of rapid diagnostic tests in a cost effective way without undermining the test’s performance or stability. The highly efficient manufacturing process that has been developed makes it easy to scale production of these tests, according to Ventureburn.
Nigerian medical doctor Ebinabo Ofrey’s GeroCare helps people to care for the elderly through a tech-enabled platform. Africans within and outside their home countries can easily organize regular home visits from doctors for their parents and relatives. Users can register patient details and make payments through the GeroCare app, according to the company.