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2021 People's Choice Awards

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University of Malawi -The Polytechnic

The sudden outbreak of corona virus otherwise referred to as COVID-19 has increased dramatically the demand for the use of a ventilator due to the nature of the attack the virus poses on the human being. Unfortunately, the much-needed ventilators are not available for use in most hospitals.

MembersJoy Khonje, Kondwani Chimutu

Brian Nyirenda and Emmanuel Chauya

Faculty Advisor: Professor Alinafe Kaliwo


Rice University

Patients with severe respiratory distress benefit from high flow oxygen therapy, which is commonly delivered using a High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC). HFNCs are prohibitively expensive for low resource settings, so our team aims to create a versatile, accessible HFNC to reduce pediatric mortality from respiratory illness across the globe.

Members: Hannah Andersen, Keeler Gonzales, Hoang Vu, Carrigan Hudgins
Dora Huang, Eric Torres

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Sabia Abidi


Northwestern University

Portable ultrasound probes for use in pediatric cannulation are increasingly available in low-resource settings, but lack of training prevents proper use. Existing simulators are limited by poor anatomical realism or exorbitant costs. No cost-effective, heat stable, and comprehensive model exists to train healthcare professionals through ultrasound-assisted cannulation in low-resource settings.

Members: Michael Lichtenstein, Sophia Hernandez, Noah Wolters, Izabela Stankiewicz

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Matthew Glucksberg


Tulane University

Medical workers in low-resource communities in Amazonian Peru need an efficient, intuitive tool to effectively visualize the cervix and screen for precancerous and cancerous lesions. 

Members: Emma Chapel, Katherine Mattingly, Madeline Tallman and Sydney Siegmeister

Faculty Advisor: Dr.Katherine Raymond

Cloth-Mask Sterilizer (CLOMAS)

Malawi University of Science and Technology

CLOMAS project is aiming at ensuring 100% protection against coronavirus and other airborne diseases through use of safe cloth mask. This device will be able to sterilize cloth masks at any time hence filling the gap of failure to wash a cloth mask after every use hence ensuring total protection.

Members: Peter Ngulube, Judith Msewa, Dennis Mtunduwatha, David Hara
and Tiyamike Ndalapa

Faculty Advisor: Dr.Wilson Mandala


Purdue University

Dehydration is a common condition in both a clinical and athletic setting across the world. The current methods of detecting dehydration, such as catheters and blood tests are invasive and often take a long time to get results.

There is currently no reliable and efficient way to detect dehydration.

Members: Jenna Munshi, Elyssia Wellington,
Kevin Bautista and Omar Abdalla

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Hyowon Lee

Let It Flow

Rice University

Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer death for African women. Early screening for HPV, the cause of cervical cancer, is often expensive and inaccessible in the developing world. The Rice360 Richards-Kortum lab has developed an HPV test for low-resource settings, but its high hand-assembly costs inhibit mass manufacturing.

Members: Hunter Adams, Alex Lammers, Paula Ayala and Shadé Flavien

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Meaghan Bond

Life Givers

Malawi University of Science and Technology

Lack of efficient devices for insulin storage and disinfection unit for syringes and needles used for type1 diabetic patients based in low resource settings. Patients store the insulin in clay pots with water placed on sand due to lack of efficient mechanisms for storage and disinfection.

Members: Maureen Valle, Aubrey Chinkunda, Francis Sambani, Mastano Kapenda, and Dalison Chimchere

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Richard Chilipa


Duke University

A colostomy bag collects waste from a stoma, an exposed portion of the large intestine due to an ostomy surgery. High-quality colostomy bags are expensive and often unavailable, forcing many patients in low-income countries to resort to homemade solutions. Such methods cause leakage, foul odors, discomfort, and further health complications.

Members: Alanna Manfredini, Joanna Peng, Darienne Rogers and Amy Guan

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ann Saterbak


Rice University

Each year, ~525,000 children under the age of 5 will die from preventable diarrhea-induced dehydration. Intravenous (IV) fluids are a tried and tested means of treatment, but pediatric wards in low-income hospitals will often forgo treatment entirely due to lacking financial or staffing resources to monitor pediatric IV drips.

Members: Hunter Adams, Samuel Brehm, and Aneel Damaraju

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Eleazar Marquez


Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology

Intrapartum maternal fever particularly if > 38.5°C, was associated with several transient adverse effects in the newborn. Intrauterine infection is a serious complication during labor at term and is associated with adverse neonatal outcomes. Early and accurate diagnosis is of great concern for both obstetricians and pediatricians.

Members: Joel Ngushwai and Daniel Bwere

Faculty Advisor: Dr. John Msumba


Rice University

3.4 million people died in 2019 due to waterborne illnesses, making it a worldwide leading cause of death. Most of these deaths are in low resource settings, where natural disasters, disease prevalence, and a lack of infrastructure means that clean water free of contamination may not be readily available.

Members: Cory Pan, Adulfo Amador, Jack Ahrens, Ji Yoon Jung, Alex Rubinstein and Eric Teague

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Sabia Abidi

Nebulizer Team

Malawi University of Science and Technology

Respiratory diseases are among the top ten causes of death in Malawi, mainly due to the scarcity of medical equipment used in respiratory therapy. Nebulizers are efficient in medication administration for such cases. However, these devices are expensive, hence only available in small quantities, and few hospitals.

Members: Ruth Mtuwa, Dumisani Namakhwa, Daniel Sibale, McLean Kumwenda, Nathan Sambo and Mphatso Kampira

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Richard Chilipa


Rutgers University

In developing nations, patients often lack a timely cancer diagnosis due to limited numbers of pathologists available to analyze pathology slides. Without enough pathologists, there can be a significant turnaround time between patient biopsy collection and pathologist diagnosis, causing delayed treatment and poor patient outcomes.

Members: Megan Maniar, Kyle Lee, Kyle Mani, and Joseph Nguyen

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mark Pierce


Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

The World Health Organization estimated 3.4 billion people are at risk of being infected with malaria. In 2018, the total deaths resulting from malaria was 435,000. The African region was hit the heaviest. This condition threatens to worsen. The emergence of image processing algorithms promises to reduce these deaths.

Members: Bernard Baah Abboah, Mawuenyefia Wisdom Amenyo,
Emmanuel Boafo, and Jeremy Nii Armah Hammond

Faculty Advisor: Mr. Eric Ebenezer Boham

Pill Dispenser Team

Malawi University of Science and Technology

Poor drug adherence affects treatment of chronic diseases due to factors like untimely drug administration, unawareness and forgetfulness. This poses grave health and economic consequences like poor disease prognosis, frequent hospitalizations and medication wastage; especially in resource limited settings, and more, in disabled populations, especially the visually impaired.

Members: Daniel Sibale, McLean Kumwenda and Mayamiko Kadango

Faculty Advisor: Mr. Peter Mwambananji

Polytechnic Covid 19 Task Force

University of Malawi, the Polytechnic

Our team is addressing the need of easily and quickly sanitizing hands in public places without touching surfaces we are also addressing the need of full body sanitization in public places Hence we came up with touchless sanitizer dispenser and full body decontamination chamber to minimize the spread of virus.

Members: Hassan Kwalenga, Christina Chiziwa, Kondwani Jasi, Khumbo Malikebu, Chisomo Thindwa, Brenald Dzonzi and Sam Masikini

Faculty Advisor: Ms. Will Moyo

Project Solar Filter

University of Wisconsin

Indoor air pollution from biofuel combustion, such as coal, wood, and dung, is a major cause of premature death globally. Most pollution related deaths occur in low- to middle-income countries, with increased prevalence among marginalized people. Solutions to combat this issue are necessary to promote health outcomes in these regions.

Members: Thor Larson, Akshith Mandepally
and Cara Stanker

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ryan McAdams

Rho Therapeutics

University of Pennsylvania

Chronic stroke survivors require rehabilitation more focused on regaining and maintaining hand and wrist movement. Due to lack of insurance coverage and structure of rehabilitation regiment, there is an unmet need for at-home rehabilitation devices that can strengthen hand and wrist movement used for fine motor tasks.

Members: Jenny Nguyen, David Bartolome, Patrisia De Anda, Kelly Feng and Ethan Boyer

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Brian DiPaolo


Makere University

Nurses and medical technicians in low-resource health centers need a low-cost, intuitive, and efficient tool to distinguish between sterilized and unsterilized medical equipment and enforce one-way flow in the sterilization department.

Members: Hannah Florez, Kato Hussein Wabbi, Budeciane Nakabugo, Breanne Retherford and Drew Schindler

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Robert Ssekitoleko


Rice University

An appropriately-distanced, inexpensive, and fast system to accurately measure body temperature in spite of external climate conditions is needed to screen groups of people while preventing crowd bottlenecking, to detect symptoms of airborne diseases, such as COVID-19, while reducing risk of transmission.

Members: Caterina Grasso, Diego Gonzalez,
Michael Ngan, Sanjana Krishnan, Kyla Barnwell and Keaton Blazer

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrea Gobin

Thermometer Gun

University of Malawi, the Polytechnic

The thermometer guns that measures body temperature by using the forehead as the target organ. The readings from the forehead are directly influenced by the environment hence not very effective in identifying potential persons infected by the corona virus even if they have a fever.

Members: Kondwani Chimutu, Kondwani Sherrah and Wonderful Lijoni Duwa

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Chindikani Mwenecho


University of Malawi, the Polytechnic

The closure of schools due to Covid-19, has led to an increase in teen pregnancies and early marriages from 43.2% to 60 %. Contributing factors to teen pregnancies Lack of knowledge about safe sex-limited access to the use of contraceptives or condoms and lack of information on birth control services.

Members: Gloria Kasambwe, Salvation Makina and Prince Kennedy

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Chimwemwe Chimono

Viriotech Biomedical Engineering

University of Rochester

Current HIV testing technology requires patients to wait several days for results, which is a challenge for communities far from health clinics. We propose a cassette for a cost-effective HIV viral load assay that measures viral load within hours, increasing testing accessibility in Sub-Saharan Africa with prevalent HIV rates.

Members: Sarah Kintzel, Leonor Teles, Dylan Manuele, Gillian Mair and Rachel Zhu

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Amy Lerner

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