Three Ugandan engineering students say prototypes of their creation, a “smart jacket” they call Mama’s Hope, can diagnose illness faster and more accurately than current treatment protocols.
Three Ugandan engineering students are trying to address the main cause of death of children in Africa – pneumonia (wet lung). They say the prototype of their creation, a “smart jacket” they call Mama’s Hope, can diagnose illness faster and more accurately than current treatment protocols.
The four-month-old Nakato Christine squirmed in the hospital bed with a gasping breath. On one side of the other bed, his twin brother is also in the same condition.
Nakato coughed when Kyobatala Loy’s Senior Nurse adjusted the nasogastric hose.
“Their bodies have been linked to oxygen hoses from breathing difficulties, so they also have trouble eating because of their breathless breath,” says Keybatala.
Since January, 352 infants have been admitted to hospital due to pneumonia (wet lung) in the 16th ward of child medicine at the National Referral Hospital of Mulago in Kampala.
Pneumonia is an infectious disease that is the leading cause of death among children under five in Africa and South Asia, according to the World Health Organization. By 2015, pneumonia causes the death of nearly one million children worldwide.
The main problem is the difficulties encountered in diagnosing this disease. The sooner the sick children get the antibiotics, the greater their chances of survival. But health workers equipped with stethoscopes and thermometers are likely to miss the diagnosis of infection in the early stages. Dr. Flavia Mpanga from UNICEF in Kampala says other methods, such as breathing time markers, can cause misdiagnosis.
“If you observe the breathing time marker, it has a ticking mechanism that can cause confusion among health workers. When they record the frequency of breathing, they can experience confusion between the sound of the equipment and the respiratory rate and every child will almost always be diagnosed with pneumonia, “said Dr. Mpanga.
He said the improper diagnosis means that children get antibiotics that they do not really need, which is also a public health problem.
The trio of graduate students of the newly graduated engineering department in Uganda think they have the answers. They have worked with the Mulago Public Health School to test the prototype of his findings, a smart jacket, called Mama’s Hope.
Two of the inventors, Beseufekad Shifferaw (26 years) and Brian Turyabagye (25 years old) demonstrated to VOA.
“Ahh so … [zipper sound] … his jacket … worn on the child … first, worn on the child and then tightened, after that the petals are installed … [sounds weak]”
“This jacket will measure the vital signs of pneumonia. Namely the frequency of respiration, the condition of the lungs and body temperature, “said Turyabagye. “After that the vital signs are distributed to our unit here, where a health worker can read the diagnosis, including cough, chest pain, nausea or difficulty in breathing. With these extra signs and symptoms, they are combined with the measurements made by the jacket so that the diagnostic results are more accurate. ”
For now, the jacket is still in the prototype stage. But the inventors say toba test results show that this smart jacket can diagnose pneumonia three times faster than traditional trials.
UNICEF has linked this team with its office in Copenhagen responsible for innovation to help them move forward to the pre-trial stage. Dr. Mpanga see the potential of this smart jacket.
“My only hope is that this jacket can achieve commercial value and be approved by the regulatory body to make the rules so as to be beneficial to the rest of the world,” said Dr. Mpanga.
Dr. Mpanga states by eliminating the diagnosis of pneumonia by the way they can save lives in the number that counted in developing countries. [Ww]