oday in Africa, approximately 10% of prescription drugs are either counterfeit or substandard. As a result of this influx, people risk serious complications or even death from tropical diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and other afflictions that could be prevented and/or treated via genuine medications.
“While dying from a disease is inevitable, dying from medicine never should be!” remarked Levit Nudi. In February 2018, the Kenyan software developer launched the mobile app Tambua. Named after the Swahili word meaning "identify,” Tambua uses a bar code, QR code and location tracking technology to monitor prescription medications throughout the supply chain, making it difficult for counterfeiters to access and copy them. The app also allows consumers to scan and instantly identify products—even with limited access to the internet, which differentiates it from other existing solutions on the market.
Science is an important multidisciplinary field that applies in day-to-day life situations; from semi-literate makers of indigenous medicine to big pharmaceutical corporations manufacturing modern medicinal drugs.
“We hope to save hundreds of thousands of lives lost every year in Africa alone due to consumption of counterfeit or substandard medicine,” said Nudi. “By giving consumers access to valuable product information, we hope to bring justice to the consumers as well as manufacturers who spend a lot of time and resources developing innovative products that counterfeiters unfairly compete against and tarnish the consumer perception of what those brands stand for.”
Having witnessed the significant, positive change he’s been able to make in addressing a growing health concern in Africa, Nudi urges his fellow innovators to continue to share their own success stories to help inspire the next generation of thought leaders. He hopes that science will one day become “a topic for all audiences.”
About the Africa Storytelling Challenge
The inaugural Champions of Science®—Africa Storytelling Challenge took place between May and August 2018. Open to all scientists doing innovative work in Africa, the contest drew more than 100 submissions. An independent selection committee of scientists, policymakers and science journalists reviewed the applications and selected the winners. Each winner will be awarded $5,000 and will have the opportunity to share their stories at the 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C.