SA-based Apple reseller, Digicape, is expanding its healthcare market by teaming up with xRapid, a London-based startup that uses an iPhone to rapidly diagnose malaria.

The xRapid solution includes an iPhone, the xRapid mobile app and an attachment system that works on both compound and field microscopes.

The app, available for free from the Apple App store, uses digital imaging technology and artificial intelligence to automatically diagnose malaria from a magnified image of a blood slide shown through the microscope. Once the test is concluded, the diagnostic report is immediately available for patient education and care to begin and to share with global organisations involved in disease management.

According to the company, the test equipment and technology is robust enough to cope with harsh climates and hot temperatures, making it an ideal choice for healthcare professionals and aid workers in remote areas with limited resources.

“We need healthcare solutions in Africa that are designed with the continent’s people and circumstances in mind,” Managing Director of Digicape, Robin Olivier, told IT News Africa. “Digicape is proud to be supporting the innovative work that xRapid has put into developing the solution that is so simple to use but also empowering to the healthcare and aid workers, patients, families and communities.”

According to xRapid, testing is critically important in managing any disease such as malaria as it links the treatment with drug management, vaccine research, resource allocation and patient care on a global scale.

“It’s a crucial step we need to take towards a malaria free Africa. Modern mobile technology is key to supporting the global directive ‘to maximise the impact of modern life saving tools’ but more than that it’s the right thing to do. Digicape is working hard to put these kinds of innovative healthcare technologies in the hands of people dealing everyday with critical healthcare issues,” said Olivier.

In 2015, the “Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030”developed by the WHO and adopted by the World Assembly, cited that in 2013, 3.2 billion people were at risk of the disease in 97 countries, with sub-Saharan Africa most affected.

“We are very excited to be the first iPhone app to diagnose a major disease like malaria. Half of the global population is at risk, and we are very proud to be doing our part in improving the lives of those affected. The mHealth revolution is starting to help people all over the world and we are thrilled to be part of it,” said CEO and Co-founder of xRapid, Jean Viry-Babel.

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