African Innovation against COVID-19

African Innovation against COVID-19 Image credit: Flying Doctors Nigeria

As the African continent records more than a million confirmed COVID-19 cases, African innovators have responded to the challenges brought on by the pandemic via several creative inventions. We have listed 8 great ideas that are helping local communities.

1. ‘Doctor Car’ Robot
Developed by students from the Dakar Polytechnic School in Senegal, the ‘Doctor Car’ robot is one of the recent African innovations that are fighting the pandemic. Its basically a multifunctional root that is designed to lower the risk of COVID-19 contamination from patients to caregivers. The device is equipped with several cameras and it can be remotely controlled via its app. It has the ability to move around rooms of quarantined patients, can take their temperature and deliver medication and food.

2. Automatic Hand-Washing Machine
Stephen Wamukota, a nine year old Kenyan schoolboy invented a wooden hand washing machine that helps curb the spread of coronavirus. The machine works by allowing people to tip a bucket of water and wash their hands by using a foot pedal.

3. The Respire-19 Portable Ventilator
During the shortage of ventilators in COVID-19 wards in Nigeria, a 20-year old engineering student named Usman Dalhathu came to the rescue and offered one of the finest African innovations for fighting the pandemic. He built the portalable automatic ventilator that helps people with respiratory problems.

4. Solar-Powered Hand Washing Sink
During the lockdown in Ghana, Richard Kwarteng, a shoemaker, and his brother Jude Osei designed a solar-powered hand washing basin. When hands come into contact with the sensor placed on the device, soapy water is automatically released. Afterwards, an alarm goes off after 25 seconds of hand washing.

5. Web-Based X-Ray Lung Scans
In Tunisia, engineers have developed an online platform that scans lung X-rays and determines if a person might have coronavirus. An X-ray is uploaded into the platform, then runs a test to detect any COVID-19 signs. Researchers at the National Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Tunisia claim that the platform is 90% effective in spotting the virus.

6. 3D Mask Printing
Nathalie Raphil has founded an artificial intelligence company: Robots Can Think South Africa. She’s utilizing 3D technology to produce almost 100 masks a day to be used in Johannesburg’s major hospitals.

7. Police Robots on Lockdown Patrol
In Tunisia, authorities have deployed police robots on the streets to help enforce lockdown measures. The surveillance robots PGuards monitor people walking on the streets after curfew and approach them to ask  why they are out. People are then obliged to show the robots their IDs to cameras attached to the robots.

8. Rapid 65-minute Testing Kit
Daniel Ndima, and Dineo Lioma, South African tech entrepreneurs have developed a COVID-19 testing kit that provides results in just 65 minutes. The testing kit is known as qPCR and uses a technology that measures DNA.