Dr. Michael Odighemeh Develops Ebola & Lassa Fever Detector

Dr. Michael Odighemeh, has announced the discovery of a fuzzy-neutral expert system for detecting ebola and lassa fever.

Dr. Michael Odighemeh is a lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering in the Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Ebonyi State.

He made the presentation in Abuja titled: “Research and development results, inventions, innovations.”

He explained that the expert system could be domiciled in an ATM-like interface, and offers self-help in a way that when pressed, it would trigger who to call depending on the symptom acquired.

He added, for instance, that if the system gives malaria as its findings, it means that the contagious disease is still mild.

But, if the temperature changes within a period of 30 minutes, it could mean a second stage of ebola or lassa fever.

Odighemeh disclosed that the expert system, unlike medical expert, hardly makes mistake, adding that whatever it produced could be re-validated all over the world.

According to Dr. Michael Odighemeh:

“The system works in such a way that, with mathematical computed evidence levels and errors in judgement values, medical experts could obtain near accurate diagnosis, subject to verification by trained experts.”

Odighemeh said, having only developed the software, the next stage is to publicise and domesticate it for the use of medical facilities across the country.

He stressed that the technology would help to reduce the death of medical professionals in the treatment of contagious diseases.

Bashir Dodo Develops New Technique For Identifying And Diagnosing Damage To The Human Retina

Bashir Dodo, a student at the Brunel University, London, has developed a new technique for identifying and diagnosing damage to the human retina.

The technique described by the Press Office of the university is an algorithm for Optical Coherence Tomography equipment, which could automatically segment images of the retina into seven distinct layers.

Bashir Dodo, currently a doctoral student at the institution’s Department of Computer Science, demonstrated the new algorithm at the BIOIMAGING 2018 Conference recently held in Portugal and was rewarded with the ‘Best Student Paper’ Award at the event.

Dodo’s work seemed to have been inspired by the psychological concept of similarity, used the ideas of continuity and discontinuity to develop the algorithm.

The university expressed the hope that apart from improving the accuracy and speed of diagnosis, the technique would help to save the sight of patients by identifying damage earlier.

According to Bashir Dodo:

“Layer segmentation is one of the early processes of OCT retina image analysis, and already plays an important role in clinics.

For example, the thickness profile of the Retinal Nerve Fibre Layer – which can be calculated directly from the segment layer – is used in the diagnosis of glaucoma, which is one of the most common causes of sight loss worldwide.

Automatically segmenting the layers could provide critical information for abnormality detection by comparing them to the average population, and monitoring the progress of disease against previous scans.”

While doctors are able to identify the layers manually from OCT images, Dodo’s new technique would automatically segment images of the retina, thereby allowing specialists to spot abnormalities quicker and better track the progress of medication.

NIPRD Develops Traditional Herbal Products For Ebola, Malaria & Other Diseases

The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, has successfully researched and developed six traditional herbal products for the treatment of Ebola, malaria and other diseases.

Professor Karniyus Gamaniel, the NIPRD director-general, said this while presenting an assessment of his eight-year tenure (2009 to 2017) in Abuja on  January 19, 2018.

Professor Karniyus Gamaniel said that NIPRIBOL, a fixed dose combination drug was developed by the Institute for the treatment of Ebola Virus Disease, adding that the Institute had completed the Phase I study of the drug.

Professor Gamaniel further stated that the Institute had also developed NIPRIMAL, an anti-malaria for treatment of uncomplicated malaria, stating that the drug was also safe for use by pregnant women.

Other traditional herbal products include NIPRIMUNE, an immunostimulant, which can also be used to manage HIV in Nigeria and NIPRIFAN for the treatment of fungal skin infection.

He also said that another product developed by the Institute, NIPRD Oil, could be used as a nasal decongestant, insect repellant, air freshner and an anti-inflammatory agent.

He however noted that excessive use of this oil could cause irritation.

In the words of Professor Karniyus Gamaniel:

“The Institute has also developed ‘NIPRISAN’ for the management of sickle cell anaemia.

We are currently concluding plans to carry out commercial production and distribution of this product.

We have developed and implemented various institutional policies for effective governance, this include the scheme and condition of service, intellectual policy and quality management system.

We have also ensured the introduction of traditional herbal medicine into the national health system and established partnerships with local and international organisations.

The core competence of NIPRD is in the development of phytomedicines from indigenous plants and products, clinical trials, among others; we are a quality assured Institute.”

The Institute presented awards to over 150 staff for their hard work and dedication to the growth of the Institute, and the research and development of traditional herbal products.

The Federal Government of Nigeria in 1987 approved the establishment of the Institute as a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

It was established with the primary objective of developing medicine and biological products from indigenous resources towards the growth and development of the country.

The Institute was later moved to the Federal Ministry of Health in 2001.

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.”