Mamaope: biomedical jacket for better diagnosis of Pneumonia

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Mamaope: biomedical jacket for better diagnosis of Pneumonia

    • Author Name
      Kimberly Ihekwoaba
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    An average of 750,000 cases are reported every year of child deaths caused by pneumonia. These numbers are also astonishing because this data accounts for only sub-Saharan African countries. The death toll is a by-product of the absence of immediate and adequate treatment, as well as austere cases of antibiotic resistance, due to the increased use of antibiotics in treatment. Also, misdiagnosis of pneumonia occurs, since its prevailing symptoms are similar to that of Malaria.

    Introduction to Pneumonia

    Pneumonia is characterised as a lung infection. It is usually associated with a cough, fever, and difficulty in breathing. It can easily be treated at home for most people. However, in scenarios that involve a patient that is elderly, an infant, or suffering from other illnesses, cases can be severe.  Other symptoms include mucus, nausea, chest pain, short breathing span, and diarrhea.

    Diagnosis and treatment of Pneumonia

    Diagnosis of pneumonia is usually conducted by a doctor via a physical exam. Here the heart rate, oxygen level, and general breathing state of the patient is checked. These tests verify if the patient is experiencing any difficulty in breathing, chest pain, or any areas of inflammation. Another possible test is an arterial blood gas test, which involves examination of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Other tests include a mucus test, a rapid urine test, and a chest X-ray.

    The treatment of pneumonia is usually carried out by prescribed antibiotics. This is effective when the pneumonia is caused by bacteria.  The choice of antibiotics is determined by factors such as age, type of symptoms, and the severity of the illness. Further treatment in the hospital is suggested for individuals with chest pain or any form of inflammation.

    Medical smart jacket

    The introduction of the medical smart jacket was birthed after Brian Turyabagye, a 24-year-old graduate in engineering, was informed that his friend’s grandmother died after a misdiagnosis of pneumonia. Malaria and pneumonia share similar symptoms such as fever, chills experienced throughout the body, and respiratory problems. This symptom overlap is one of the leading causes of death in Uganda. This is common in places with poorer communities and lack of access to proper health care. The use of a stethoscope to observe the sound of the lungs during respiration often misinterprets pneumonia for tuberculosis or malaria. This new technology is able to better distinguish pneumonia based on temperature, sounds exerted by the lungs, and breathing rate.

    A collaboration between Turyabagye and a colleague, Koburongo, from telecommunications engineering, originated the prototype Medical Smart Jacket. It is also known as “Mama-Ope” kit (Mother’s Hope). It includes a jacket and a blue tooth device that gives the accessibility for the patient’s records regardless of the location of the doctor and health care device. This feature is found in the iCloud software of the jacket.

    The team is working towards creating a patent for the kit. Mamaope could be distributed across the globe. This kit ensures early diagnosis of pneumonia due to its ability to recognise respiratory distress sooner. 

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