African engineers are fully mobilized to put their technological innovations at the service of the fight against coronavirus. Drones, respiratory protection, protective clothing, African technology show the extent of its talents.
African technology is in full swing, ahead of a pandemic that is shaking the world, African entrepreneurs and engineers are working locally to develop solutions to prepare the continent for the worst-case scenarios.
In Nairobi, MehulShah quickly realized that he could play a leading role in local manufacturing of the necessary protective equipment. In just three days, his 3D printing company, Ultra Red Technologies, had developed a prototype of the protective strip, on which a plastic sheet is attached to form a visor. Today, it produces 500 per day.
“It is very important to be able to show Kenyans that we can manufacture this equipment here, that we do not need to import it. We have the knowledge and the means to produce it here,” he told AFP.
New state of mind
Although Kenya has so far officially registered only less than a thousand cases of coronavirus, including 50 deaths, “we are preparing for the worst case,” acknowledges Mehul Shah, who welcomes the new state of mind that applies. “All companies are trying to find out how they can use their resources to help. The competitors that collided yesterday are now pooling their efforts.”
Kenya’s booming digital sector is working to track apps, making FabLabde Kisumu, the country’s third largest city, Mafia (Safari means travel in Swahili), which tracks passenger movements. public transportation.
It allows passengers who take a minibus for public transport to identify themselves, at the same time as they enter the vehicle registration number. “If one of the passengers tests positive, we can find all the people who checked in and were in the vehicle,” says TairusOoyi, undes responsabledeFabLab.
Lack of respiratory protection
Innovation has also been fruitful in the production of artificial respiration, which is crucial to saving lives as they allow artificial ventilation of the lungs of patients suffering from pneumonia caused by the virus.
In Africa, most countries have only a handful of these machines, some even have none. “Kenya only had about 50 working respirators for a population of over 50 million,” Dr. Gordon Ogweno, professor of medicine at the University of Kenyatta, Nairobi. “And beyond the pandemic, many diseases make their use necessary.”
Engineering students then, in collaboration with the university’s medical department, developed an inexpensive respirator, which is still undergoing clinical testing before use. It costs only a tenth of the price of an imported machine – estimated at $ 10,000.
“Our young people have the solution”
“Our young people have the solution to many of the problems facing the world today … It’s very exciting to see what they can do with the resources they have,” said NicholasGikonyo, director of the National Center of Herbal Research at the University of Kenyatta .
In Ghana, universities in Accra and Kumasi have teamed up to design a respirator that costs between $ 500 and $ 1,000, which only takes an hour to assemble.
And in Somalia, a 21-year-old student, MohamedAdawe, invented an accessory that facilitated cardiovascular and pulmonary resuscitation.
While caregivers normally need to deliver oxygen to the patient via an insufflation bag, Mohamed Adawe’s breathing aid – consisting of a wooden box, tubes and an electrical system – transmits oxygen from an autofill balloon to the patient via a hose.
“I’ve seen people who have difficulty breathing because they can’t get a machine to deliver the vital oxygen they need,” says AdaweMohamed.
In addition to local manufacturing equipment, African countries also use high technology to fight the virus.
Thus, Rwanda uses humanoid robots in coronavirus treatment centers to minimize human contact. In particular, they can take the temperature of the patients.
And in Ghana, the US company Zipline, which already uses drones to transport drugs, blood and vaccines, while avoiding bad roads, has started using it to carry coronavirus testing.