Imagine a hospital or doctor’s room bursting out of its four-walled enclosure with anxious mothers and their sick children – waiting to find out if their child has contracted malaria. Hundreds of minutes they spend waiting. Minutes that could be lifesaving, because with every passing minute comes a higher risk of death. This is what life is like for mothers in many African countries.
Every 60 seconds a child dies of malaria. According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) stats, 214-million new cases of malaria were found, with Africa being most susceptible at an alarming rate of 88 per cent. Early detection by means of a microscopic examination offers patients the best chance of survival. Sadly, in rural territories the equipment is not up to the task and often is not even available. Add to that extensive power outages and hospitals that are located far from the communities, and the mortality rates start to climb even further.
MOMALA is the acronym holding the meaning Mobile Malaria Lab – and that’s exactly what it is. It is a medical app that enables people to identify malaria at an early stage.
How it works
The app speeds up the entire diagnostic process by assisting lab technicians to identify malaria parasites using the already built-in technology of a Smartphone. The Smartphone acts in the capacity of a microscope and is attached by a clip. Located within that clip is a thin plate with a blood sample. The Smartphone then proceeds to run an active algorithm that navigates on the basis of populated scientific data that allows it to accurately detect malaria. The app provides lab technicians and medical practitioners with a malaria ranking – low, medium or high as well as the number of parasites detected. This intuitive identification and seamless data collation makes the malaria diagnosis equivalent to that of a medical expert.
Earlier this year, MOMALA won the first Mobile Health Hackathon where over 108 designers, developers and the brightest medical minds converged. The hackathon was created to devise practical state-of-the-art medical solutions for patients worldwide.