Many African countries have been praised for leading an effective campaign against the coronavirus, despite their reputation for fragile public health systems. Yet, some countries in Africa have made great innovations that help stop the spreading of the virus.
The fight against the coronavirus in Africa has led to the creation of different technologies. From a machine that allows users to knock over a bucket of water to wash their hands using a foot pedal to a portable automatic ventilator to help people with breathing problems. Below are the top five African innovations to fight against the spread of Covid-19.
1. Social distancing haircuts
Hairdressers in Ethiopia have found a way to continue cutting clients’ hair while minimizing the risk of transmission of Covid-19. Barbers stand in a specially constructed booth that acts as a partition separating them from clients, minimizing person-to-person contact.
2. Internet X-ray lung scanners
In Tunisia, engineers have created an online platform that can scan the lungs with x-rays to determine if a person could have coronavirus. When an X-ray is uploaded to the platform, it performs a test to detect possible coronavirus infection signs.
Researchers from the National Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology in Tunis say the tool is 90% effective in indicating infection likelihood. The platform is still under development, but thousands of chest x-rays have been fed into the system to allow it to recognize the impact of Covid-19 on the lungs.
3. The robot “Doctor Car”
Students from Dakar Polytechnic in Senegal built a multifunctional robot designed to reduce the risk of Covid-19 contamination from patients to caregivers.
The device is equipped with cameras and is controlled remotely via an app. The designers say it can move around quarantined patients’ rooms to take their temperatures and administer medicine and food.
4. Police robots patrol
In April, Tunisian authorities deployed police robots in the capital, Tunis streets, to enforce lockdown measures. Surveillance robots, called PGuards, would spy on people walking down the street and approach them to ask them why they were out.
People then had to show their ID cards and other documents to the cameras attached to the robots. The four-wheelers are equipped with thermal imaging cameras and light sensing and ranging technologies.
5. Automatic hand washing machine
Stephen Wamukota, a nine-year-old Kenyan schoolboy, invented the wooden-hand washing machine to curb the coronavirus’s spread. Stephen received a presidential award in June.
The machine allows users to knock over a bucket of water for washing their hands using a foot pedal. This allows users to avoid touching surfaces to reduce the risk of infection.