South Africa: Asthma Grid Life-Saving System Proves a Winning Formula in Switzerland for TUKS Student

An innovative, life-saving, early warning system for asthma sufferers developed by a young South African doctoral student earned him first place at an international competition.

Moses Kebalepile, a South African innovator, has walked away with this year’s top prize at the international pitchfest held in Zurich, Switzerland.

Moses is a PhD student at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, who through his doctoral studies has invented a medical diagnostic instrument called the Asthma Grid.

The Asthma Grid is an early warning system that predicts threats of imminent asthma attacks. In this way, asthma sufferers and their primary caregivers will not be caught by surprise when an episode of asthma happen and therefore unnecessary asthma deaths can be prevented.

Asthma is a respiratory ailment, and while common, South Africa has one of the highest asthma related deaths in the world, affecting people between the ages of 5 to 35 years-old. Of the more than 4 million South Africans suffering from this ailment-a form of bronchitis cause by allergic inflammation, 1,5% die from this condition annually.

The pitchfest takes place under the Swiss-South African Venture leaders Programme (SSAVP). The programme is a framework providing motivation, entrepreneurial know-how and support to scientists from both countries while contributing to strengthen the cooperation between industries of South Africa and Switzerland.

Swiss-South African Venture Leaders Programme is administered by the Innovation Skills Development of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

This is the third successive year, that South Africans have been dominating the Pitchfest. The competition is the highlight of the year’s Swiss-South African venture leaders programme.

The selection of the winning team takes place after entrepreneurs are put through a training programme in Switzerland for young, ambitious South African and Swiss entrepreneurs, which organised by venturelab.

Sponsored by the Swiss South African Joint Research Programme (SSAJRP) this business development programme includes visits to start-up companies and workshops on topics such as intellectual property, marketing and start-up financing.

Source: South African Government