Uganda’s BreastIT cruises into continental innovation challenge finals

2019 ASME ISHOW Alvin Kabwama

BreastIT, a Uganda health firm employing artificial intelligence (AI) in diagnosing breast anomalies, including cancer will this coming week face off with other seven companies at the regional finals of the 2019 ASME ISHOW in Kenya.

Also known as ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW), the global innovation competition whose 2019 edition was rolled out in January, is hunting for hardware-led ventures that can tackle problems in the environment, education, health, safety, energy, water & sanitation, economy & community, and agriculture sectors.

For the 2019 ASME ISHOW, organizers earmarked US$ 500,000 (about Shs1.9 billion) and it will be given out to nine winners in cash and in-kind services “based on individual need for scaling their respective hardware solution.”

However, for the Kenyan competition, the eight startups that made it to finals will compete for the final grand prize of USD$30,000 (about Shs112.0 million). It will be divided among the best three, with each walking away with $10,000 (roughly Shs37.6m).

Aside from, BreastIT, the other contenders are E Tuk Tuk (Kenya), hearX Group (South Africa), Safi Organics (Kenya), Savanna Circuit Tech (Kenya), SAYeTECH (Ghana), Sesi Technologies Ltd (Ghana), and Solar Freeze (Kenya).

The first regional 2019 ASME ISHOW was held in India on April 4 and after Kenya, the competition will be in the USA on June 14.

The best teams will then proceed for the ISHOW Bootcamp in New York. In this competition, Uganda has been previously represented by Matibabu (which Moris Atwine, one of three co-founders of BreastIT [others being Alvin Kabwama and David Mwesigwa] is also part of), Lumenda, Musana Carts, and PedalTap.

BreastIT is a portable AI-powered diagnostic tool for screening breast cancer. It’s composed of a Glove for screening and software for image analysis. The tool is a handheld, pocket-sized ultrasound imaging system that empowers radiologists to make focused assessments and accelerate treatment decisions at the point of care.


The setup of BreastIT equipment. Image credit: PCTech Magazine

With real-time cloud processing that offers quick and accurate analysis, radiologists are able to take decisive action, refer patients quickly, optimize the course of treatment, and reduce the overall cost of care in low-resource settings.


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