Covid-19: Jkuat unveils solar-powered ventilator, contact tracing app

The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat) unveils a ventilator, one of several inventions to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic, at its main campus in Juja on May 7, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Jkuat has unveiled two portable solar-powered ventilators that use a 12V battery, 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 Victoria Ngumi says the university’s engineering department has the capacity to produce 10 ventilators weekly, a boost for Kenya which has a shortage.

The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat) is the latest institution of higher learning to unveil several innovations to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jkuat has unveiled two portable solar-powered ventilators that use a 12V battery, a contact tracing application, a digital system that predicts Covid-19 infection trends in Kenya and an automatic solar-powered hand-washing machine.

Karanja Kabini, a mechatronics engineer who was one of the innovators, said the ventilators whose materials are locally available are highly reliable and can operate for two weeks without the need for maintenance.

“It has a control panel that can vary the breathing rate, an operator that can increase of reduce the amount of oxygen and it can be used by adults and children,” Mr Kabini explained.

The gadgets are light therefore easy to transport.

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Vice-Chancellor Victoria Ngumi termed the developments by a team of engineers, researchers and innovators a huge breakthrough in the country’s war against the coronavirus.

Prof Ngumi says the university’s engineering department has the capacity to produce 10 ventilators weekly, a boost for Kenya which has a shortage.

Ventilators are crucial for coronavirus patients with breathing difficulties.

Kenyatta University unveiled a locally made ventilator in April.

Students make a presentation before Trade and Industrialisation CS Betty Maina, on the Tiba Ventilator they invented, at Kenyatta University's Chandaria Business Innovation and Incubation Centre on April 11, 2020. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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Jkuat students Victor Muthembwa, Boniface Bundi and Crispus Nyaberi developed the Contact Tracing and Case Management App' for use in identifying where and when a person gets into contact with a Covid-19 positive individual.

“The app has been upgraded to include triage and case management functions that resolve the cumbersome nature of manual recording currently being used in most parts of the country,” Mr Bundi said.

Researchers have described the app as an important asset in the fight against Covid-19 because it is digital and specifically focuses on tracing contact who use public transport.

President Uhuru Kenyatta recently lauded Kenyans for their innovations, saying his government was committed to partnering with them for their maximum use.

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