Matibabu from Uganda won an award for entreprenuers at Pitch@Palace Africa 2.0 for their innovation that tests for malaria in less than two minutes without having to withdraw blood.

Matibabu is a pocket-sized hardware device that uses combination of a beam of red-light and magnetism to detect malaria parasites in tissues. Shaffik Sekitto, an engineer from Uganda and co-founder of the device wowed the audience as he explained how the device had the potential of making diagnosis from the comfort of one's home.

"...Over 3.3 Billion people in the world are susceptible to malaria, to add to that, 400, 000 people die annually because of the disease in front of experienced doctors and very many diagnostoc tools in the market...A simple malaria test takes 30 mins from the time blood is drawn from the patient to the time a conclusive result is returned. A doctor will have to take 600 minutes to finish his workload. With the growing population the doctor will not be able to diagnose even a quarter of his patients in a day in the next 10 years." Sekitto explained in his pitch.

He further added that the non-invasive device can diagnose malaria in less than 2 mins, is a fifth of the price of the current diagnostics in the market and is 15 times faster and five times less expensive than the current diagnostics.

The 5th generation prototype has undergone 384 tests and has attained an accuracy rate of 80%. Apart from diagnosing malaria, the device also obtains data on the diagnosis and maps out regions with a high prevalence of malaria. The device is heading into clinical trials and Sekitto and his team hope to commercialise their device after validation and obtaining the necessary certificates and licences. 

Pitch@Palace Africa is a collaboration between the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation and Pitch@Palace, an initiative founded by The Duke of York in 2014 as a platform to amplify and accelerate the work of Entrepreneurs.