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Nigerian Scientist Wins $100,000 For Innovative Malaria Test

For designing a Fyodor Urine Malaria Test kit, a Nigerian scientist, Eddy Agbo, has won the Health Innovation Challenge Award.

Mosquito - the cause of malaria

Agbo, who received $100,000 for the feat, beat 11 other scientists at the maiden edition of the award organised by the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace in Lagos.

The kit, he said, would prevent patients from experiencing the cumbersome process of taking blood samples during malaria tests.

Agbo, a United States-based scientist, added that the kit would encourage more patients who do not like needle pricks to undergo testing, just as it would reduce the incidence of self-medication and misdiagnosis of malaria infections.

On what inspired him to create the kit, Agbo said he always desired to provide solutions to problems using science.

He said, “I worked on the test kit for seven years. Growing up in Nigeria and knowing the environment, you start to realise some of our major needs. I got to a stage in my life that I began to think of how I can use science to solve some of the major problems in our society. I started thinking about this because I realised the impact it would have on the people.”

According to him, anyone can use the kit, which will soon be available in pharmacies across the country.

Meanwhile, the $50,000 first runner-up prize went to Medical Devices for providing health facilities to hospitals in hard-to-reach communities in the country.

The second runner-up award went to e-Heal (Electronic Health Education in Any Language). It received $30,000.

The Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, who commended the winners for providing homegrown solutions to the nation’s health challenges, urged private investors to support them.

Ovia said, “We must invest in the innovations not to make money but also to save lives. The value on human life is beyond any financial reward. The private sector must support problem solving innovations that will be viable, profitable, and sustainable in the market place.”

The PSHA Chief Executive Officer, Murtaqa Umar-Sadiq, bemoaned the lack of funding for scientists to embark on innovative researches.

Umar-Sadiq said the initiative would promote science and innovation and drive health competition among scientists to save lives.

He said, “We selected over 300 health innovations and designed an intensive, user-centred design thinking and business development programme to help innovators to champion their causes. Our mandate is that every Nigeria should have access to quality health care.”

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