A group of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) students have developed several innovations to help in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Among them are two portable solar-powered ventilators, a contact tracing application, a digital system that predicts Covid-19 infection trends in Kenya and an automatic solar-powered hand-washing machine.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Victoria Ngumi on Thursday said the innovations were developed by a team of engineers, researchers and innovators at the institution and are a huge breakthrough for the country in the fight against the spread of corona virus.
According to one of the innovators Karanja Kabini, a mechatronics engineer, the ventilator whose materials are locally available has a control panel that can vary the breathing rate as need be.
“The operator can increase or reduce the amount of oxygen accordingly,” Kabini said.
The university’s engineering department has the capacity to produce 10 ventilators weekly, according to the VC.
On the other hand, the ‘Contact Tracing and Case Management App’ has been developed by engineering students and identifies individuals that have interacted with a Covid-19 positive patient alongside the place and date of contact.
Those behind the innovation are Victor Muthembwa, Boniface Bundi and Crispus Nyaberi
“The App has been upgraded to include triage and case management functions that solve the cumbersome nature of manual records currently being used in the country in tracing contacts,” said Bundi.
The contact tracing app traces contacts who use public transport and has been taken up by local Super Metro buses that ply the Nairobi-Thika route through some partnership with the students.
The automated solar-powered hand washing machine has been developed by an African University’s Institute for basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) which is housed at JKUAT.
According to ReineKatte, the chair of Pausti entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, the group of about six students from the region created the innovation among many in the hope to create one million jobs in the continent through their ‘Agenda 2063’ which embraces innovation.
The institution’s researchers have also developed a web-based digital platform that is able to predict Covid-19 infection trends in the country.
Prof Ngumi called on the government to embrace the technologies in the Covid-19 war, adding that the research and production of these innovations will continue long after the coronavirus is contained.
By Muoki Charles