Charles Onu Invents Ubenwa [2017]

Charles Onu has invented an artificial intelligence system Ubenwa that analyses a baby’s cry to give warning signs of baby asphyxia.

Ubenwa, which means “baby’s cry”, helps parents and caregivers detect birth asphyxia earlier, without having to wait on doctors.

Birth asphyxia happens when a baby’s brain and other organs do not get enough oxygen before, during or right after birth. It is the third leading killer of infants worldwide.

Ubenwa, an Android app, takes an infant’s cry as input, analyses the amplitude and frequency patterns of the cry and provides instant diagnosis of birth asphyxia.

Clinical trials with nearly 1,400 pre-recorded baby cries reveals over 95% prediction accuracy.

The startup has earned international recognition and is in the final round for the global IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition, which has a $5 million prize.

Charles Onu, Ubenwa’s founder and principal innovator, says the company is presently conducting clinical validation exercises in Nigeria and hopes to make the service available and free for use.

In his words:

“We want to do the tests in the hospital, interact directly with the babies, and compare how Ubenwa performs given all the new environmental challenges that would come up.

We are still finalising a hybrid model. But in the meantime, we are planning to make it free for individuals and paid for organizations such as hospitals, clinics, governments, and others.”

FMC Umuahia Records Successful First Kidney Transplant [2017]

The Federal Medical Centre, FMC Umuahia, Abia State has successfully carried out its first kidney transplant.

The first kidney transplant, which was carried out on two patients was conducted free of charge. The surgery commenced on Thursday, December 7 and was completed on Friday morning around 10:00 a.m.

This decision of the free surgery, according to the management of FMC Umuahia is aimed at offering kidney transplant services to improve quality of life, minimise medical tourism as well as provide affordable kidney transplantation in Nigeria.

The surgical procedure was carried out by team of surgeons led by Dr. Obi Ekwenna from University of Toledo Medical centre, USA and other surgeons from FMC Umuahia. It lasted more than ten hours in between procurement of kidney from the donor and actual transplanting for the recipient.

Relatives of the beneficiaries who have been undergoing dialysis expressed gratitude to the management for the gesture and expressed optimism for its sustainability.

One of the beneficiaries, Orji Ogbonnaya, a 37-year-old man who has been going through dialysis for four years said:

“This is a great plan for people like us who cannot travel outside the country to do the surgery, because they do not have the finances to go outside the country, but right now, we have kidney transplant at our doorstep and it is free for us as the beginners of the place, so I appreciate it.”

In the words of Dr. Obi Ekwenna on the Centre’s first kidney transplant:

“This is a team effort and that is what is required to have a successful transplant. We want to be able to save the life of patients who have kidney failure around this area and we target for that, it is just me from United States and the rest of the surgeons here. They are all very capable and obviously with some guidance we are able to do a successful kidney transplant.

The recipient is doing beautifully and the donor is moving around, the donors are the heroes, they are amazing people that come forward to save life and they will live a normal life.”

According to the Chief Medical Director (CMD), FMC Umuahia, Dr. Abali Chuku, the decision to offer kidney transplant free of charge for two patients is aimed at bridging the gap in obtaining quality healthcare due to the financial burden.

He said about 10 centers in Nigeria are providing kidney transplantation but all the ten centers are outside the south-eastern area. So, the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia introduced the service within in order to add value to the health sector.

According to Dr. Abali Chuku:

“Now the incidence of this kidney diseases is about seven percent of admitted patients. The alternative which is usually very expensive is kidney transplantation and a lot of them cannot afford it and it becomes a bit challenging for such patients and the dialysis cost is also quite high.

This kidney transplantation is a skill transfer session which the Federal Medical Centre hopes to run for four years to enable the centre to fully optimise the transfer of skills from the partnership with the University of Toledo Medical Centre.”

Lola Alonge Wins 2017 UN Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Award

Mrs. Lola Alonge has won the 2017 Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) award organised by the United Nations.

Mrs. Lola Alonge who is the Executive Director of Child Health Advocacy Initiative (CHAI) emerged the nutrition champion for Nigeria and was among the 18 shortlisted out of 50 nominations, for the award at the UN global level.

The Nigerian child health activist became victorious after competing with various first ladies for the prominent award.

Scaling up nutrition (SUN) is a United Nations global movement to scale up nutrition and end malnutrition in various countries.

For over 20 years, Mrs. Alonge has spear-headed awareness campaign on breastfeeding through her NGO – Child Health Advocacy Initiative.

She played a vital role in moving nutrition and breastfeeding agenda forward through collaboration and support to government institutions, private sector and the media.

She is the author of two books titled: “Breastfeeding made easy” and “Baby and Child Care”.

The award is to create a platform to continue to advocate for good nutrition and end malnutrition in Nigeria.

Winners Of 2017 Nigeria National Quality Award (NiNQA)

Winners have emerged at the first edition of the Nigeria National Quality Award (NiNQA). The Award held in Lagos, rewards businesses and entrepreneurs that have complied with international standards for management systems and performance improvement.

Amongst those recognized were Johnbull Amayaevbo, a legal firm (Bronze), Scientific Laboratory Services Limited (Silver); 561 Nigerian Airforce Hospital Laboratory (Silver); and Redeemer’s University (Gold). The Award was organized in three categories with Clina Lancet Laboratory (C), Zaika Foods Limited (B) and PZ Cussons (A) among the highest level winners.

Participants from a wide range of fields including education, law, laboratory testing, and manufacturing underwent several rigorous rounds of assessments based on a set of criteria derived from the standards issued by the International Organization for Standardization.

Winners were presented with certificates and trophies during the distribution ceremony, which was attended by industry leaders from public and private sectors, including the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Federal Ministry of Labour. International experts on quality, including Michael Voss, an auditor on ISO 9001 and ISO 14001; and Sunil Thawani, an American Society of Quality (ASQ) Fellow gave presentations at the ceremony.

The Nigeria National Quality Award (NiNQA) was established within the scope of the National Quality Infrastructure Project for Nigeria, funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). NiNQA was officially launched in April 2017 as part of the strategy to increase awareness of quality and standards in Nigeria.

sKan Wins 2017 International James Dyson Award

The Skin Cancer-Detecting Device (sKan), a low cost, non-invasive and handheld device has won the 2017 international James Dyson Award.

Invented by a team of four (a Nigerian and 3 Canadians) bioengineering undergraduates from Ontario’s McMaster University; Rotimi Fadiya, Michael Takla, Prateek Mathur and Shivad Bhavsar, the sKan is made from widely available and inexpensive components and can possibly make detection of the disease more accessible.

According to the World Health Organization, one in every three worldwide diagnosed cancer cases is a skin cancer.

James Dyson, founder of the Dyson company said the sKan received the award because it is “a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world“. Since 2002, the James Dyson Award has been open to university or recent design graduates across the world and celebrates significant, practical and commercially viable designs.

To develop the device, the four graduates were awarded C$50,000 ($40,000; £30,000).  The device uses temperature sensors to help in the early detection of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer because cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal tissue cells. Cancerous tissue usually warms at a faster rate than non-cancerous tissue when the tissue skin is cooled.

The team plans to use the funds to build a new prototype that can be used in pre-clinical testing. Their ultimate goal is to select patients who should be sent for a biopsy because early detection is key for the treatment of melanoma.