The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that lasted for more than a year in Ghana has not only prompted citizens to care more about their hand hygiene, but spurred local inventors to come up with more creative ways to cater to people’s needs for handwashing, particularly in public.
With a sensor and a motor installed into the sink, Yaw Adusi-Poku, a Ghanaian engineer, transformed the mobile handwashing facility into a type that allows people to wash their hands outdoors without touching the tap.
Furthermore, the new device was designed with a pedal and a small water tank for local users, who frequently suffer power outages due to a lack of stable electricity supply.
In fact, Adusi-Poku began his invention in 2015 when some of the Western African countries were severely hit by Ebola that raised many concerns about sanitation within the region. Five years later, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic bolstered his determination to continue promoting his product.
“We do it for schools, companies, and churches, and you can see a lot of people using them,” said Adusi-Poku, adding that people’s awareness toward personal hygiene has enormously increased amid the pandemic.
Different from Adusi-Poku’s high-end device, Emmanuel Buaben, a young Ghanaian inventor, turned his eyes on the simplicity of the handwashing facility by using abandoned plastic oil containers.
He installed a tap on one side of the container which was used as a small “water tank”. The container was fixed tightly on an iron shelf with a bar of soap and a bottle of sanitizer on both sides, and a bucket on the ground to contain the waste water.
Later, Buaben upgraded the simple device into a foot-operated type, which was named as “Adam Smart “by him and his partners.
“We are looking at the simplest one that anyone can use, so anyone can wash their hands,” he said, noting that making use of the used gadgets, such as plastic oil containers, will also help reduce the damage to the environment.
The facility that cost only 300 Ghana cedis (50 U.S. dollars) is also acceptable to many Ghanaian households whose budgets are limited, he added.
While the majority of the products targeted the able-bodied citizens, Smart Wash, a company based in Ghana, concentrated more on the benefits of the disabled by producing specially-designed handwashing facilities for them.
The facility, with a lower height and a unique handle that could be switched on and off by users with their elbows, allowed the disabled people to wash their hands in wheelchairs within a minute.
Kwame James, a worker of the company, said after the COVID-19 arrived, the disabled people found it difficult to use the existing handwashing facilities in most cases, thus the company intends to use the new device to enable them to have more access to handwashing to stay safe amid the pandemic.
Despite the popularity of their creative products, many local inventors still urged the public to increase the frequency of handwashing as part of tightened efforts to reduce the infection.
Adusi-Poku told Xinhua that they have been donating some devices to schools to promote the importance of handwashing among teenagers and help them improve their hand hygiene.
As the COVID-19 persists across the country, some investors also urged the government to invest more in developing the handwashing facilities to intensify the fight against the pandemic. Enditem