SEATTLE, Washington — Ethiopia, a country in the Horn of Africa and bordering Somalia and Sudan, has encountered increased difficulties from the rapid spread of COVID-19. With more than 350 confirmed cases, Ethiopian citizens had to undertake emergency precautions. However, amid the pandemic 18-year-old Ezedine Kamil emerged as a rising inventor in the fight against COVID-19 in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s COVID-19 Barriers
Ethiopia’s existing living conditions threatened to rapidly increase the number of coronavirus cases in the country. The spread of COVID-19 in Ethiopia raised concerns regarding the country’s hygienic state. With open defecation and undernutrition problems arising in Ethiopia, improving sanitation became a priority.
There is also a socioeconomic disparity among Ethiopian families. More than 84% of families living in rural areas have a lack of access to key resources such as water and proper hygienic practices.
Road to Innovation
In an attempt to minimize cross-contamination, Ezedine Kamil’s first invention was the “contactless electrical soap dispenser,” which utilized sensors and mechanical pads to grant his community access to proper sanitization. Upon launching his new product, Kamil saw a rapid growth of interest in his rural town, Welkite.
In a short period of time, more than fifty dispensers were distributed in hospitals and banks across his community. Additionally, Kamil partnered with local universities and hospitals to further develop his product and increase production.
With its mechanical pads, Kamil’s community could improve its hygiene efforts while in a blackout. The seamless and convenient design helped hundreds of Ethiopians gain access to proper sanitation.
Creating Ventilator Replicas
The next problem Kamil set out to solve was the lack of ventilators for COVID-19 patients. With only 163 ventilators available for all hospitals in Ethiopia, there was an urgent need for more ventilators for COVID-19 treatment.
By utilizing plastic pouches and cell phone screens, Kamil created a near-perfect replica. Patients using Kamil’s prototype received oxygen with the help of the “Ambu Bag,” a pouch connected to the screen. Due to the great demand for these bags, Kamil began distributing his ventilator replicas to hospitals for testing.
Kamil’s third invention looked to raise awareness for COVID-19 in Ethiopia. To do this, he stressed the concept of cross-contamination by inventing a gadget that produced a sound when a hand approaches the face, reminding the wearer to avoid the unintentional transfer of germs.
If the wearer were to touch their faces for any particular reason, Kamil’s gadget would elicit an alarm, prompting them to stop. The installation of motion detectors and hardware ensure the proper detection of the wearer’s movements while the discarded electrical appliances and plastic material make the product easy to make.
Through intensive distributional efforts, Kamil has landed various patents for his work. Kamil’s gadgets are frequently used by his community and have helped combat the spread of COVID-19 in Ethiopia.
Kamil’s Project Growth in Ethiopia
Despite Kamil’s recognition for his work, funding is an ongoing issue. With his current location being in a rural, poverty-stricken area, there are numerous obstacles to overcome. However, Kamil is seeing some success in COVID-19 innovation competitions and will continue to seek financial assistance to bring his ideas onto the international platform.
Currently, Ethiopia is seeing steady growth in COVID-19 relief efforts. Kamil’s work to combat COVID-19 motivated other organizations to contribute as well. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for example, distributed numerous bars of soap and handwashing stations in Ethiopia. In addition, ICRC supplied infection prevention materials to Ethiopians, helping them contain and fight the virus.
Kamil’s inventions also prompted government aid toward COVID-19 relief efforts. The Ethiopian government, in an attempt to combat the spread of the virus, ordered more than 1,500 ventilators for patients in the coming months. With the addition of ventilators to hospitals, COVID-19 patients can now breathe more easily and be properly treated.
Ethiopia’s recovery rate has increased since living conditions, sanitation and hygiene efforts improved. Currently, Ethiopia is seeing more than 125 COVID-19 patients improving their health. Kamil is a rising inventor who has prompted these movements toward change, but Ethiopia must take additional steps to provide for its citizens. Some issues related to sanitation are still prevalent, and additional actions must be initiated for Ethiopia to see a bright future rid of COVID-19.
– Aditya Padmaraj