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Uganda: Students Win U.S. $12,000 From Microsoft for Malaria APPs

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ugEast African Business Week (Kampala)

A team of Ugandan students who took part in the 11th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup for young technologists, developers and aspiring entrepreneurs, won in the women’s empowerment category.

Brian Gitta, Joshua Businge, and Simon Lubambo who make up Uganda’s Team Code 8 received the $12,000 first prize in the Women’s Empowerment Award, sponsored by the UNWomen agency.

Their winning entry dubbed ‘Matibabu’ is a WindowsPhone Application that diagnoses for malaria without pricking the body (not getting any blood sample from the body).

By connecting a custom piece of hardware (matiscope) to the windows phone, the user is able to diagnose and know their malaria status in the shortest time possible. The results are sent to the user’s skydrive for medical record keeping and sharing with their personal doctors.

According to Gitta, “I suffered from malaria and brusella before the competition and was subjected to a number of prickings to diagonise over and over again,” he said. This lead him and the team to work towards a solution that can help diagnose for malaria early, efficiently to save lives time and money.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup is about creating innovative projects and ultimately bring these ideas to the international market.

The Women’s Empowerment Award recognizes two student teams that created projects that best address issues impacting women globally.

Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist at Microsoft while announcing the winners in St. Petersburg, Russia recently said 87 student teams from 71 countries including 12 from Africa, competed in the worldwide finals after winning local and online competitions around the world.

“For the past 11 years, Imagine Cup has been a place of inspiration and innovation for students around the world. The students participating in this competition demonstrate the very best in innovation from their home countries and together create new apps, innovations and services that will change the way the world works, interacts and learns,” Guggenheimer said.

The ceremony was the culmination of a four-day competition and celebration of bringing ideas to life through technology and teamwork.

In 2008, Team Cipher256 from Uganda won a Grant Award for ‘WinSenga’ a handheld device that can scan a pregnant woman’s womb to monitor baby movements and detect ectopic pregnancy or abnormal foetal heartbeats.

Microsoft has awarded cash and other prizes valued at more than $1 million throughout the yearlong competition.

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