Fyodor, an innovative method of testing for malaria through the urine, on Wednesday won the top prize of $100,000 at the inaugural Health Innovation Challenge Awards held in Lagos.
The innovator of Fyodor Urine Malaria Test, Eddy Agbo, said the testing method cuts out the unpleasant and expensive traditional method of testing for malaria through blood samples, eradicates self-medication as patients can truly determine the cause of their fever is malaria related.
Explaining how the test works, Victoria Ewenmadu, an official of the company, said all that is needed to test for malaria is just a few drops of a patient’s urine.
“What it does is it test for malaria parasite in the urine. If you have a fever you shed certain protein and this protein is what is tested on this texture. You collect a small sample of urine, you dip the texture into the sample of urine and let it stay for 25 minutes and within 25 minutes it would tell you if you have malaria or not,” she said.
She said there was no special expertise needed to conduct the test as anyone could use the product anywhere and at any time.
Mr Agbo told PREMIUM TIMES Fyodor is the result of his desire to use science to solve societal problems.
“Growing up in Nigeria and knowing our 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 we 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 in our society.
Mr. Agbo, who is based in the United States, said he has been working on the product for seven years and that Fyodor will become available in pharmacies across Nigeria next week.
Fyodor was not the only winner of the day.
The first runner-up of the day, Medical Devices as a Service (MDaaS), won $50,000 for its innovative method in reducing the cost of acquiring medical devices bu providing hospitals with a range of acquisition options and world-class support services.
Mdaas, which was launched in the Nigeria market in September, has provided three private primary healthcare centres with over 10 devices such as Ultrasounds, X-rays, Patients monitors, Ventilators, and Defibrillators, through direct sales.
The second runner-up, e-HEAL (Electronic Health Education in Any Language) was awarded $30,000 for it’s innovative kit that uses a combination of graphics, audio technology and solar-powered pen to communicate health information in local Nigerian languages to illiterate families in rural areas without access to doctors. All the users need to do is to touch the appropriate graphics with the electronic pen that comes with the kit and whatever the graphics represents will be communicated to the user in his/her language.
The third runner-up, the Mobile Health Insurance program (mHealth), got a prize money of $20,000. mHealth provides social and affordable health insurance plans to all mobile network subscriber in Nigeria for a low as N35 per day. Mhealth aims at making cost-effective and efficient access to basic and qualitative healthcare services to every Nigerian.
The last winner of the day was Omoni. Omomi, which means “my child” in Yoruba is an android based mobile application used by pregnant mothers to monitor their health and that of their unborn babies. The device also monitors the health of babies up to age five. It is aimed at saving lives, reducing maternal and infant mortality in the critical early years. The application helps mothers in growth monitoring, oral rehydration therapy, breastfeeding, immunization, female education, family planning and food supplementation. Though the application and SMS alerts, mothers can have live chats with doctors, find the nearest health provider through GPS and automatically track vaccine. Omomi was awarded a prize money of $15,000.
The Health Innovation Challenge Awards is the brainchild of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace. The innovators who received prizes were picked from a poll of 12 finalists who were chosen from an a poll of 327 applicants after a rigorous screening proceed that was audited by renowned international consultancy firm, Accenture.
The Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, who was a special guest at the event, told the innovators to be proud of inventing products and idea that would save lives. “You are not going to make much money now but you will save human lives,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Private Sector health Alliance, Murtaqa Umar-Sadiq, bemoaned the lack of opportunities to “harness bold and innovative ideas in the health sector in the country. He explained that the award aimed at making the innovation in the health sector become more visible.
Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank, who was also a special guest at the event, said innovation such as those that were honoured at the awards will create more space for private sector participation in healthcare.
“Healthcare has been all about government and treated like a social welfare that the private sector should not be involved. This should not be so. Five innovators will be given awards today. They would save lives. If we have identified 12 why can’t we have 100 or 200 and more innovations,” he said.