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The Research Project 


We believe that portable molecular digital diagnostics can transform healthcare in Africa. 

Established in August 2022, the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Digital Diagnostics for African Health Systems aims to:  

  • develop an evidence-base to support the development, implementation, and impact of digital diagnostics technology in African health systems


  • training a cohort of African Digital Diagnostics Fellows who will evaluate the impact of and develop further digital diagnostics technology

Background & Research Questions

Digital diagnostics use lab-on-chip technology to detect analytes, generating, processing, storing, and transmitting digital data, with real-time connectivity, providing actionable results to the user and data for disease surveillance.


We have developed a modular digital molecular diagnostic platform called Lacewing, which features the sensitivity of PCR in a handheld, easy-to-use, robust, rapid, and cheap, sample-to-answer format, suitable for point-of-need diagnosis in African healthcare settings.


We have developed a series of tests for different diagnostic situations including detection of malaria parasites and other pathogens, and distinguishing causes of childhood febrile illness. Data from each diagnostic test is transmitted to a smartphone which provides the user interface and secure onwards transmission of data. 

How does a lab-on-chip digital diagnostic perform under different use-cases in Africa healthcare settings?

How can digital diagnostics like this best be integrated into healthcare practice and policy in Africa?

Cross-cutting Work Packages

WP1 | Technology Development 
Leads: Prof. Pantelis Georgiou, Dr Jesus Rodriguez Manzano (Imperial College London)
WP2 | Community Engagement and Involvement
Lead: Prof. Salome Bukachi (University of Nairobi)
WP3 | Diagnostic Evaluation 
Leads: Dr Jane Achan (Malaria Consortium), Dr Samuel Duodu (University of Ghana)
WP4 | Health Systems 
Lead: Dr Julie Balen (University of Sheffield)
WP5 | User Interface Co-design
Lead: Dr Talya Porat (Imperial College London)
WP6 | Data Integration and Application
Leads: Prof. Céire Costelloe (Institute of Cancer Research), Mr Darlington Akogo (minoHealth AI)

Research Sub-Projects

 SP1 |  Evaluation of the detection of asymptomatic carriage of malaria parasites in cross-sectional community screening surveys using a point of care digital diagnostic 
PhD Student: Dimbintsoa Robinson, MRC Unit The Gambia (LSYTM) – 
Supervisors: Prof. D'Alessandro, Prof Tinto 

 SP2 |  Evaluation of the detection of malaria parasite species and anti-malarial resistance in uncomplicated malaria patients using a point of care digital diagnostic 
 PhD Student: Martin Chamai, University of Ghana, WACCBIP – Supervisors: Dr Amoah, Prof. Awandare

SP3 |  Evaluation of the detection of malaria in pregnancy and anti-malarial drug resistance using a point of care digital diagnostic 
PhD Student: Jean-Bertin Kabuya, Tropical Diseases Research Centre – Supervisor: Prof. Christine Manyando

SP4 |  Evaluation of detection of P. falciparum and P. Vivax malaria and G6PD deficiency using a point of care digital diagnostic 
PhD Student: Waleed Mohammed Alhaj Jebreel, University of Khartoum, IEND – Supervisors: Prof. Osman, Prof. Mahdi

SP5 |  Evaluating a digital diagnostic to distinguish between causes of childhood febrile illness 
PhD Student: Flavia Kaduni Bawa, University of Ghana, WACCBIP – Supervisors: Dr Duodu, Dr Usuf, Dr Cunnington

SP6 |  Developing and evaluating a digital diagnostic for environmental pathogen detection 
PhD Student: Erick Odoyo, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) – Supervisors: Dr Sifuna, Dr Rodriguez Manzano

SP7 |  Evaluating digital diagnostic implementation through national and international health policy &   health systems analysis 
PhD Student: Shola Kelly Molemodile Dele-Olowu, University of Ghana – Supervisors: Dr Balen, Prof. Yeung, Prof. Yawson

SP8 |  Evaluating digital diagnostic implementation through local health systems and service analysis 
PhD Student: Mamadu Baldeh, MRC Unit The Gambia (LSYTM) – Supervisors: Dr Balen, Prof de Witte, Prof Yeung

SP9 |  Co-design and development of user interfaces for digital diagnostics 
PhD Student: Faiza Umar Bahaw, University of Ghana – Supervisors: Dr Porat, Dr Abdulai
, Dr Baxter

SP10 |  Integration and application of data from digital diagnostics for disease surveillance and control 
PhD Student: Francis Dzabeng, University of Ghana – Supervisors: Dr Abdulai, Mr Akogo, Dr Okell, Dr Costelloe

Research plan overview



Let's Connect

Imperial College London

Section of Paediatric Infectious Disease

St Mary’s Medical School

Room 250

Norfolk Place


W2 1PG


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