Special Reports

Uganda ICT EXPO 2019: Inside Smart Jacket Diagnosing Pneumonia Using Bluetooth

In June 2014, Brian Turyabagye was busy with his engineering course when he learnt that the grandmother of his friend Olivia Koburongo was ill.

Together with Olivia, they later realized that the doctors at a medical facility where the old lady was bedridden had misdiagnosed malaria.

Yet, the patient was suffering from pneumonia.

This encouraged him to do more research on diagnosing pneumonia.

It was a matter of time before innovating the popular MAMA-OPE, a biomedical application for early diagnosis and continuous monitoring of pneumonia patients.

Turyabagye, whose team is expected to showcase the app’s potential at the December 17 ICT Expo in Nakawa, Kampala, says the app derives its name from Olivia’s (team member) grandmother who lost the battle to pneumonia.

MAMA stands for mother and OPE denotes hope.

The MAMA-OPE thus symbolizes “Hope for the Mother”. The vest specifically designed for children 0 to 5 years who are most prone to the disease.


According to UNICEF, Pneumonia kills more children than any other infectious disease, claiming the lives of over 800,000 children under five every year, or around 2,200 every day.

This includes over 153,000 newborns. Comparatively in 2018, 437,000 children under five died due to diarrhoea and 272,000 to malaria.

The Biomedical smart jacket, which can be used anywhere in the world, diagnoses pneumonia using bluetooth.

It can diagnose pneumonia three times faster than doctors while lessening human errors, as the inventors’ study say.

The technology is similar to a stethoscope. It stretches across the whole chest and the side of a patient’s body.

It surveys specific points on the lungs for symptoms of pneumonia, characterised by a swelling of the lungs caused by infection.

The jacket is connected to a mobile phone app via Bluetooth which sends, records and analyses the medical data, ready for a healthcare professional to make an informed diagnosis.

Turyabagye says Mama-Ope kit can aid health workers and practitioners to easily diagnose Pneumonia at a faster rate with increased accuracy.

Mama-Ope also measures all the vital signs at once which potentially reduces the average diagnosis time.

It further provides an option for patient data storage that can be used for tracking and monitoring of patient records.

The Medical records can easily and safely be stored and shared using the power of the cloud.

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