In 2014, Gitta, a Ugandan inventor, and Shafik Sekitto, a bioengineering student at Makerere University, won a major prize for a device which tests for malaria without drawing blood.
“Matibabu”, which means “treatment” in Swahili, clips onto a patient’s finger and doesn’t require a specialist to operate it. It has a red beam that can detect changes in the colour, shape and concentration of red blood cells – all of which are affected by malaria.
In 2017, Roperfree introduced mosquito repellent made with essential oils which is applied to the body and prevents mosquito bites. Since then, we have been continuously supported by the Ministry of Health under Malaria Program, particularly Dr Jimmy Opigo, The Uganda National Malaria Program Manager.
In 2018, a Ugandan called Joan Nalubega invented mosquito repellent soap, I know Joan personally, she is very ambitious, determined, well focused and ready to hit back malaria with her contribution using the repellent soap.
Roperfree partly mentored her to realise her dream. She was introduced to us by Justice Owere, who I was mentoring before in his innovation of ISSB bricks. Both are in training school called SINA (The Social Innovation Academy) in Mpigi, which educates former orphans, street children, refugees and other disadvantaged youth in Uganda to become job creators by learning entrepreneurship skills.
Although Joan conducted extensive research about malaria, the importance of outreach is just as important as preventative measures.