A project that can diagnose diseases including malaria has been named winner of the 2023 Self Help Africa/ Irish Aid Science for Development Award at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.
Developed by Vedh Kannan and Will Carkner, students at Sutton Park School in Dublin, BloodBox is a portable diagnostic device to diagnose diseases including malaria. The device allows blood samples to be tested for disease with 94% accuracy. Crucially it does not require doctors to administer, potentially increasing access to testing in low-income countries.
There were an estimated 619,000 malaria deaths globally in 2021. Approximately 80% of all malaria-related deaths in Africa are among children under the age of 5.
The award by presented by Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Seán Fleming T.D..
Minister Fleming said:
“The Science for Development Award encourages young people to use science to help create a better and more sustainable world. Science and technology has a huge role to play in addressing some of the big challenges facing the world today.
“I would like to congratulate this year's deserved winners from Sutton Park School. Their project is incredibly practical and has the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives.
“The standard of entry was incredibly high and I would like to pay tribute to all the students who developed projects aimed at tackling global issues. It is heartening to see so many young people in Ireland determined to use their scientific skills and interest to help the lives of people around the world.”
Joanne Hanratty is the teacher of this year's winners. The award will enable students and teacher to travel to Africa as part of a Self Help Africa schools visit to give them an opportunity to reflect upon and possibly further develop the project.
This is the eighteenth year that Irish Aid has funded the travel bursary awarded to the winning project.
The award is adjudicated entirely independently by the judges at the annual BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. The judges look for evidence that the students have made the link to the global, setting out how many modern challenges are global challenges, which require global solutions.
Last year’s Science for Development Award was won by Jona Garcia, Claudine Mulihano and Iman Shittu from St. Louis Secondary School in Dundalk for their project ‘A renewable and electricity-free cooling system for food refrigeration that can combat world hunger’, identifying the enormous challenge of food waste in countries where people live without electricity.
The 2021 winner was Aronnya Khan Zakaria from Castletroy College in Limerick with her project on 'The Development of Racial Prejudice in Children’, which sought to identify why some people learn to view the world through racist stereotypes.