Team of Black Inventors Create Smart Jacket That Diagnoses Disease in Toddlers That Doctors Often Miss

Founders of Mama-Ope - a biomedical smart jacket

A team of Ugandan innovators have created Mama-Ope - a biomedical smart jacket that rapidly increases the accuracy and speed of diagnosing pneumonia. Pneumonia is an illness in Uganda that takes the lives of many people (especially children) every year because it is commonly misdiagnosed with malaria, asthma and tuberculosis, and therefore mistreated.

The team behind the invention include Besufekad Shifferaw, the lead technical developer; Brian Turyabagye, the lead engineer; Olivia Koburongo, the project manager; Dr. Rodney Sekate, a medical consultant; and Angella Namwase, a medical researcher.

How does it work?

Using sensors, the Mama-Ope jacket listens to and observes body reactions such as lung crepitations and wheezing. It then measures the patient's breathing rate, and then processes and analyzes the data.

The jacket then computes the results, and sends the results to a mobile app using a bluetooth connection.

Diagnosing pneumonia four times faster

Mama-Ope can aid health workers and practitioners to easily diagnose pnemonia at a faster rate with increased accuracy - up to four times faster than a typical health practioner could. In addition, the diagnosis process is standardized and very user-friendly.

All of the vital signs are measured at once, providing an option for patient data storage that can be used for tracking and monitoring of patient records. Medical records can easily and safely be stored and shared using the power of the cloud.

Their motivation

Pneumonia personally hit home when team member Olivia's grandmother died in 2014 from pneumonia because she had been misdiagnosed with malaria, and therefore mistreated. It wasn't until after her death that it was discovered that she had pneumonia.

This and thousands of other similar cases became the motivation for the Mama-Ope team. In fact, the name of the jacket derives its name from Olivia’s grandmother. "Mama" represents mother and "ope" denotes hope.

The Mama-Ope thus symbolizes “Hope for the Mother,” but currently the smart jacket specifically helps young children because they are more prone to the disease.

For more details about the Mama-Ope smart jacket, visit
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