Atherton Mutombwera’s Hutano Diagnostics among 2022 Äänit Prize finalists for $80,000 award

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The Mandela Rhodes Foundation has selected 5 finalists for the 2022 #ÄänitPrize! The five who are in the running for an award of up to $80 000 which goes toward their African social impact initiative include Atherton Mutombwera, a Zimbabwean national.

Mutombwera is the founder and CEO of Hutano Diagnostics and is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar in the class of 2014. His project which is under Hutano Diagnostics is a ground-breaking lateral flow device (LFD) to identify children with fevers, who are likely to develop sepsis.

The test works with a smartphone app, bringing the solution into the patient’s hands. Children with a fever have their blood added to the test after a finger prick, and 15 minutes later the parent, community health worker, or nurse knows they need antibiotics, as well as if their fevers will progress to severe outcomes.

This lowers the risk to children, allows for earlier interventions, and reduces the cost and complications due to sepsis.

Every year, sepsis kills over 3.5 million people in Africa. Sepsis occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to an infection. In many cases it is preventable if diagnosed early enough.

Hutano aims to change this outlook by improving the tools for diagnosis, particularly in low-resource settings and developing countries, through an innovative way of testing for sepsis.

If a person has sepsis, the likelihood of death increases by 7.6% for every hour that passes if the patient is not treated with antibiotics. Early diagnosis is therefore critical. In low resource settings, sepsis diagnosis is conducted using simple measurements such as temperature and heart and breathing rate.

This can be misleading and result in inappropriate treatment. The laboratory test for sepsis can take up to 24 hours and it is prone to false negatives.

Apart from Mutombwera, the other four finalists run projects in areas ranging from early childhood development, to medical technology and renewable energy. The finalists come from Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

These are Jessica Ronaasen (Do More Foundation), Atherton Mutombwera (Hutano Diagnostics Ltd), Koaile Monaheng (Khantša Energy), Shantel Chido Marekera (Little Dreamers), and Erich Odwour Midigo (Ndalo Heritage Trust).

Voting is now open for the new Audience Choice Award. The venture with the most votes will win $1000. You can vote here:

Atherton Mutombwera, CEO Hutano Diagnostics, developed an impactful project “Saving lives with better, faster testing technology”

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation launched the Äänit Prize in 2021 with the aim of enabling positive social impact in Africa.

“We are tremendously proud to be offering the Äänit Prize in its second year. Each of these ventures has the potential to make a difference in the lives of people who have been left behind on our continent, which is exactly the type of value-driven entrepreneurship that we aim to support and develop at the MRF,” said Mandela Rhodes Foundation CEO, Judy Sikuza.

Mandela Rhodes Foundation ffers young leaders from across the African continent a chance to become part of Nelson Mandela’s legacy of transformative impact. They offer a life-changing opportunity for personal growth via a prestigious postgraduate scholarship and Leadership Development Programme for those who want to use their talents to serve Africa.

Since its inception in 2003, the foundation has selected 585 Mandela Rhodes Scholars from 32 African countries. The Mandela Rhodes Foundation was founded in 2003 by Mr Mandela in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, the home of the Rhodes Scholarship based at the University of Oxford. – APO/MRF


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