We’re a bit behind the news on this, which in the fast paced internet world is clearly unforgiveable, but Lesley Erica Scott, inventor and Wits University professor, has won the African Innovation Foundation’s Innovation Prize for Africa’s Special Prize for Social Impact for her invention that examines the accuracy of machines used to detect TB.

Scott, who works at the Wits Department of Molecular Medicine and Hematology, received the award along with $25 000 (R300 000) at a ceremony held in Morocco last week.

Moroccan researcher Adnane Remmal was crowned the overall winner for his African farming solution that helps improve production, walking away with the $100 000 (R1.2 million) grand prize.

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Adnane Remmal (far right) receives his award.

Scott conceptualised and and created the Smartspot TBcheck to examine whether TB detection machines are functioning optimally. TBcheck is easy and safe to use and can be delivered to laboratories safely and economically. Smartspot TBcheck aims to make diagnosing TB far easier and go a long way in curbing the TB epidemic in Africa.

Alex Mwaura Muriu, an entrepreneur from Kenya who also developed a farming solution, was named runner up and received $25 000. Muriu’s invention is an anti-microbial formula that reduces health hazards in livestock, preventing the transmission of multi-resistant germs and carcinogens to humans through the consumption of milk, eggs and meat.

“This year’s winners have a common theme: their innovations highlight the vital and crucial need to respond directly to demanding community needs – the heart of the AIF mandate,” the foundation said.

“The innovations further demonstrate great potential to change the course of history in Africans’ responses to health, technology, enterprise and the agricultural sector, prioritizing needs-based responses through cost effective means – a critical tool for sustainable development.”