Engineers From Uganda Create Smart Jacket To Diagnose Pneumonia

Posted: Jan 23 2017, 12:08am CST | by , Updated: Jan 23 2017, 12:12am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Engineers from Uganda Create Smart Jacket to Diagnose Pneumonia
Credit: Brett Eloff/The Royal Academy of Engineering
 

The biomedical smart jacket can help doctors to quickly and accurately diagnose pneumonia

A patient’s recovery from any disease often depends on how quickly he/she receives medical care. Pneumonia is also one of those diseases that become hard to defeat if early and accurate detection is not made. 

To solve the problem, a team of Ugandan engineers has invented a biomedical “smart jacket.” It is basically a kit that is made up of a smart jacket and a mobile phone application which does the diagnosis. By using this kit, doctors can accurately diagnose pneumonia and begin prescribing treatment. 

The inventor of the biomedical jacket, Brian Turyabagye decided to develop a better method for diagnosing pneumonia after his friend loses her grandmother due to the disease. She had to move from hospital to hospital before being properly diagnosed with pneumonia.

Pneumonia is a severe lung infection that causes cough, fever and troubled breathing. Usually, the infection clears up within few weeks. But it can prove fatal for older adults, kids and people with weak immunity system.

According to the UN children's agency UNICEF, pneumonia kills up to 24,000 Ugandan children under the age of five per year. Doctors usually rely on physical exam to diagnose the disease. Since the initial symptoms of pneumonia are the same as malaria, many of them are being wrongly diagnosed with malaria.

“Many of those deaths are because of misdiagnosis. In the villages and remote areas, children get sick – and the first reaction is to treat them for malaria. Most people are aware of malaria, and the signs for malaria and pneumonia are very similar, so it is difficult for health professionals to differentiate.” Turyabagye, who is a telecommunications engineering graduate, told The Guardian.

It merely requires a patient to slip into the smart jacket and then its sensors will pick up the sounds from the lungs, temperature and breathing rate, which would help distinguish pneumonia symptoms.

The kit is named “Mamaope” or “mother’s hope.” Though it is still only a prototype, it can diagnose pneumonia three times faster than a doctor and eliminates most human errors.

“The problem we’re trying to solve is diagnosing pneumonia at an early stage before it gets severe,” said Olivia Koburongo, who came up with the idea of creating smart jacket.

“Once it is successful (in Uganda) we hope it is rolled out to other African countries and major parts of the world where pneumonia is killing thousands of children.”

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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