MUTIMA: Automated Low Cost Diagnostic Tool for Pneumonia

Uganda Industrial Research Institute
Organization Location: 
Kampala, Uganda

Over 900,000 children under the age of five died from pneumonia in 2013, accounting for 15% of all deaths of children under five years old (WHO, 2013). In Uganda, pneumonia accounts for 17% of deaths of under-fives, of which 5% are neonates. Child deaths in remote resource-poor settings due to pneumonia could fall by 30% if accurate diagnosis is performed early. Misdiagnosis is attributed to low-skilled Community Health Workers (CHWs), the lack of available appropriate diagnostic tools, and scarce to no power access. Research shows that the more automated, accurate and easy diagnostic tools are, the better the health outcomes. The MUTIMA low cost automated diagnostic device will derive three key physiological indices simultaneously; heart rate, arterial oxygen saturation and respiration rate. Automatic calculation of respiratory rate simplifies usability by avoiding the need for manual counting, which is prone to errors from CHW distraction. Results are displayed on an LCD after one minute elapses. A dedicated microcontroller platform will perform signal processing functions, eliminating the need for a smartphone. Battery operation is used with a solar-powered charging bed to overcome power limitations. A maintenance and calibration support structure coupled with training will ensure the effectiveness of the final device and sustain improved health outcomes. Options for implementation include creation of a spin-off company and collaboration with existing industrial partners.

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