Cardiogram by tablet, Cows by phone: 3 new innovations for Africa

Cardiogram by tablet, Cows by phone: 3 new innovations for Africa

From tablets that diagnose cardiovascular disease to potatoes that reduce childhood blindness, The Guardian’s list of 15 innovations that are helping transform Africa has a little something for everybody.

African countries struggle with a host of complex and varied issues, one of the chief reasons there is no panacea solution for the continent. Each region has a unique history and environment which may temper any overarching top-down approach. That's why it's so notable that most of these ideas came from citizens who saw new ways to address needs in their own communities. Below are some highlights.

Health: Cardiopad
Developed by a Cameroonian engineer, the touchscreen Cardiopad uses electrodes to monitor a patient’s heart and then sends the results to a nearby cardiologist. This eliminates the need for rural populations to travel vast distances for medical appointments and allows doctors to more readily address issues such as hypertension.

Disaster Response: Advance Aid
Advance Aid links African manufacturers with charitable organizations to encourage sourcing aid supplies locally. In 2011, Advance Aid built partnerships with Catholic Relief Services and World Vision, among others, delivering roughly $18 million USD into the Kenyan economy.  

Economic Development: iCow App
Rearing dairy cows is no easy task, but the iCow app simplifies things in a hurry. Developed by a Kenyan farmer, iCow organizes milking schedules, veterinary information and even breeding lineage. And it all works via SMS so that rudimentary phones common in rural agrarian areas can utilize the program.

All the ideas presented are powerful and unique, but what’s really exciting is the innovations coming from ordinary African citizens in combating the most difficult problems on the continent.

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