A telemedicine device for monitoring heart conditions remotely has been named the best invention for the African continent by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the second year of the Africa Prize.
The invention dubbed the Cardio-Pad and developed by Cameroonian engineer Arthur Zang allows village doctors who have no access to sophisticated equipment to take a quick scan of a patient’s heart function and send it wirelessly to a specialist who can provide analysis in 20 minutes.
“I was very impressed by Arthur Zang and his team, which aims to help patients in communities where access to cardiac specialists is limited,” said head judge Malcolm Brinded CBE FREng.
“The Cardio-Pad should allow quick, low cost, cardiac illness detection and monitoring in rural villages and towns, addressing a huge African health challenge.”
It is estimated that almost one in two Africans over the age of 25 suffers from hypertension and nearly 20 million suffer from a cardiovascular disease. However, the condition frequently goes undetected until the advanced stages due to the lack of properly equipped medical facilities especially in rural areas.
Zang, who has been awarded £20,000 in prize money, has recently established a factory assembling Cardio-Pads in Yaoundé. Hundreds of devices have already been sold in Cameroon, Gabon, India and Nepal.
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers from all disciplines to develop solutions for challenges facing the local communities.
The Prize, which was launched last year, provides training and mentoring to the most promising candidates selected from a pool of submissions.
12 shortlisted candidates competed in this year’s challenge, during which they received six months of couching on business plan development and marketing.
Three runners-up received £10,000 each. These include a digital project in Kenya providing information and advice to pregnant women and new mothers, a South-African micro-grid technology for rural electrification and an Ugandan device for preventing electricity theft.