mDex is creating a low cost, reusable version of a standard Sickle cell screening tool.

mDex, a smartphone-based sickle cell diagnostic tool.


mDex is a smartphone based, low cost, reusable, near instant point of care diagnostic tool aimed at increasing access to Sickle cell Diagnostic services in low resourced areas. mDex bridges the knowledge gap and the feedback loop between the time of testing and results.

This equips medical personnel with limited haematology skills to diagnose Sickle cell disease accurately to facilitate early diagnosis thus encouraging enrolment into Sickle cell clinics for disease management.

With mDex, a medical personnel needs saline solution(proportionate mixture of water,sugar and salt), an external lens and a smart phone pre-installed with the application. They get a blood sample from the patient and prepare a slide using the saline solution. The picture of the slide is then taken using the smart phone with an attached lens and its then analysed and the results displayed on the screen. In case there’s need for further examination of the slide, the picture can be shared with a haematologist(blood expert) expert via email or WhatsApp.

A little over 3 years ago, a team of passionate technologists waged war on a silent killer disease following the untimely death of a mutual friend in his final year at medical school. In Uganda, over 30,000 babies are born with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and 80% of them do not live past their 5th birthday. Due to limited access to diagnostic services and little or no information about SCD, screening is not performed and the diagnosis is often delayed.

Currently, the turn-around time for Sickle cell testing ranges between 24 hours and 6 months. The available solutions are costly in terms of reagents and equipment, not reusable and require high level of expertise. The cheapest test costs $5 which is quite costly for a population that lives on less than a $1 a day. mDex is looking at reducing the turn-around time to less than 24 hours, using a mobile application with a detachable lens (re-usable) and common salt which is affordable and easily accessible.

Their primary beneficiary is a new-born who gets the neonatal screening service at a low cost, couples who have better access to pre-marital screening and Suspected Sickle cell cases so they can get enrolled into a Sickle cell clinic. They are looking at selling low- cost products that are used to avail services to clients at the Base of the Pyramid cheaply. mDex is creating a low cost, reusable version of a standard Sickle cell screening tool.

How it works

• A medical practitioner prepares a blood slide
• With a lens attached to the phone camera, they launch mDex app in order to capture patient details.
• They are prompted to take a picture of the blood slide.
• There’s an option of retaking the picture to ensure quality.
• The picture is then analysed and results displayed on the phone

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