For the first time in the history of the Microsoft Imagine Cup, two teams from Africa won prizes at the worldwide finals.Team Code8 from Makerere University that represented East Africa in the just concluded 11th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup competitions in Russia received the Women’s  Empowerment Award presented in partnership with UN Women.While Team Masked Ninjas from Egypt  receive dan AFT Excellence Award.The Code8 team consisting of Brian Gitta,Joshua Businge ( year Computer Science students) Simon Lubambo, a fourth year Electrical Engineering student and Josiah Kavumaa third year Information Technology student,developed a Windows phone application named Matibabu that diagnoses malaria without pricking the body to draw blood.

Instead, a custom piece of hard ware (matiscope) isconnected to the windows phone, then a light sensor is passed over a finger to diagnose malaria in the shortest time possible.After diagnosis, the results are displayed on the phone screen. These results are then sent to the user’s skydrive for medical record keeping and sharing with their personal doctors.

The UN Women Award that comes with a cash prize of $12,000(sh30m) recognizes two student teams that created projects that best address issues impacting women globally.According to an excited Josiah Kavuma, the funds will enable them do more research on the feasibility and scalability of their application.

“We are extremely happy to be the first African team to secure a prize at the finals and we shall now focus towards competing for the ImagineCup Grant,” he added.“It feels good to see our dreams come true especially after the hard work, sleepless nights, the team spirit and motivation from our lecturers and staff of the MIC-Uganda,”Kavuma noted.

Team Code 8 is one o fthe fruits of the Microsoft Innovation Center-Uganda, currently hostedat the College of Computing and Information Sciences.“At MIC-Uganda, w eare proud of the progress the program has made on the ICT sector in Ugandan terms of supporting software developments and start-ups. This is the second win after thewinsenga application that got $50,000 from Microsoft last year,” said Drake Patrick Mirembe,the MIC-Uganda manager.