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1. Covid-19 Solutions

Below is a list of innovative solutions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Click on the source link for further reading:

Infection Control and Screening

SOLUTION NAME DESCRIPTION  INSTITUTION / INNOVATOR COUNTRY REFERENCE
Protective masks The masks consist of two parts: namely, the main housing, and the soft interface that provides the seal. Both parts can be sterilized by autoclaving. The mask forms a tight seal around the clinician’s mouth and nose, allowing for N95 (or similar) filters to be attached. Central University of Technology South Africa
Antimicrobial Coating Technology The solution is designed to stop infections before they start. The solution strengthens infection control measures in medical facilities, food processing plants and public transport environments, amongst others. This innovation will help protect people against nosocomial infections, which are often acquired during hospital stays. Surface contamination and subsequuent microbial transmission are known contributors to this. This self-sanitising surface coating serves to address this growing problem, and the results are very promising. Michael Lucas (Wits University) South Africa
Buzz Off Bracelet The device tracks other bracelets around it. If that person later tests positive for COVID-19, it will alert everyone who came into contact with that user. MetaWellness Italy
Hey Bracelet The Hey Bracelet allows you to stay in touch with your loved ones, even when you’re apart. You can use the bracelet to send a pulse to someone. The bracelet uses advanced technology that communicates through Bluetooth with your smartphone. The design ensures that you never send a touch accidentally; the bracelet must be touched in two places to send a message. This touch is transferred directly to your phone and from there to the connected Hey bracelet anywhere in the world. Hey Bracelet is weatherproof and after only 30 minutes of charging it keeps you in touch for up to three weeks. Hey Netherlands
The Market Market The Market Garden app lets the vendors safely sell and deliver fruits and vegetables to customers as restrictions to promote social distancing during the pandemic and beyond. It reduces bustling crowds in market areas by allowing women to sell their goods from their homes through the app, and then motorcycle taxis deliver the goods to customers. The women are paid through the platform to limit the risk of the virus transmitting through the exchange of cash. Institute for Social Transformation Uganda
School Desk Shields When they measured the classroom, they discovered that they don’t have the 1.5-metre space between the desks. They decided to put the frames together and covered them with plastic. The only cost they incurred was for the screws and staples. So it cost them R400 for the 100 screens. They have the plastic and they picked up the wood from a wood factory. When learners come to school they get scanned for their temperature in the morning. They are asked [screening] questions and have their hands sanitised. Then they come to class where there is 1.5m markings for each learner, and the learner sits in the desks which have a shield. GJ Joubert Primary School  South Africa
Dignified Virtual Funeral The solution allows families to have virtual funerals in order to limit human contact and encourage social distancing. Jacobs Bridge South Africa
VELA Blink.IoT, a start-up organisation that uses IoT (Internet of Things) to create innovative and cost-effective cloud-based solutions, has developed VELA, a prototype cloud-based biometric solution allowing access-control and attendance register through facial recognition. The system is lightweight and uses custom software developed in-house running on a Raspberry Pi. The device is an eco-friendly solution that can be easily converted to be powered by battery or solar, which allows for use in remote areas. The facial scan is triggered using your foot followed by a name readout by the device so you can hear that you were recognised. VELA integrates with most existing biometric systems that currently use fingerprint scanners. Bonele Lusithi (Blink.IoT) South Africa
DigitalQ Mobile App The mobile app allows shoppers to pre-book for when they’ll be in public spaces. The key is to manage shoppers before they left their homes.  As part of its array of features, the DigitalQ app would let people queue for available time slots at shopping centres, shops and any other shared destination of interest. Mzansi Digital Partners South Africa
Smart Signage As lockdown restrictions are eased, businesses are opening allowing more customers inside their. Controlling the number of customers in a retail or restaurant environment will be crucial. One way of doing this is to use a digital footfall counter that will electronically monitor the amount of people entering a venue. When combined with digital signage, such as a single screen at the entrance, retailers are able to communicate to waiting customers what the store’s capacity is at any given time and indicate when they can allow more customers to enter. Samsung and Moving Tactics South Africa
Miaza Mirror also known as the Health Mirror Handwashing is one of the primary ways to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. In India, where only 35 percent of households clean their hands before eating, getting people to change their hygiene habits was important. Miaza Mirror is a smart mirror that can detect the presence of a person as soon as they wave at it, and then it walks them through the multi-step hand-washing process recommended by the WHO in a 35-second animated video. Pink Tech Design India
UVC Sanitizer The UVC sanitizer design harnesses the power of UVC light, which is effective in killing viruses and other micro-organisms in and on our surroundings by destroying the nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA. The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is rendered non-infectious through the application of UVC radiation because it is able to damage the RNA sequence and break up the bonds of the virus. Essentially, this specific type of radiation is capable of killing the virus that causes COVID-19 in the first place. Rowyn Naidoo (University of Cape Town student). South Africa
National Hygene Program With the assistance of the World Bank, the National Hygiene Program was initiated to address Covid-19 through cash-for-work activities for youth, with more than 25,000 jobs created in informal settlements since April. The government will scale up the program further to 200,000 youth  across the country. The project will use the cash-for-work program to clean streets and drainage, clear bush and collect garbage, and undertake fumigation and disinfection activities. These programs not only generate jobs and support livelihoods but are also key for a sustainable and resilient recovery. Kenya
Automatic hand-washing machine Nine-year-old Kenyan schoolboy Stephen Wamukota invented a wooden hand-washing machine to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The machine allows users to tip a bucket of water to wash their hands by using a foot pedal. This helps users avoid touching surfaces to reduce the risk of infection. Stephen was given a presidential award in June. Stephen Wamukota Kenya
Wooden money sanitiser An M-Pesa agent Danson Wanjohi. He constructed the mechanism using a motor, a rubber band and gears which enable notes to pass through the machine. As the notes pass through the device, they are cleaned with a sanitising solution. Danson Wanjohi Kenya
3D Mask Printing Natalie Raphil is a leading AI innovator in Africa and the founder of Robots Can Think, a company that specialises in creating artificial intelligence capable of controlling robots (factory robots, household robots, cars, and others). She is also the leader of the educational stream for WomeninAI South Africa. Sheis using 3D printers to produce 100 masks a day for use in some of Johannesburg's major hospitals. South Africa accounts for around half of all reported coronavirus cases in Africa. Natalie Raphil South Africa
Solar-powered hand-washing sink Amid a lockdown in Ghana aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, shoemaker Richard Kwarteng and his brother Jude Osei decided to design a solar-powered hand-washing basin. When hands come into contact with a sensor on the device, soapy water is automatically released. An alarm goes off after 25 seconds of hand-washing - within the timescale recommended by the World Health Organization. Richard Kwarteng Ghana
Real-time COVID-19 tracker The spread of COVID-19 in Africa has highlighted problems such as misinformation and the lack of data or the means to gather it. Based in Ghana, Darlington Ahiale Akogo, with a team of 20 persons, has built a comprehensive real-time tracker of COVID-19 cases across Africa. This will provide policymakers and relevant parties with real-time information to track the spread of the virus and help them plan efficient interventions like drug and medical supply distribution, as well as social distancing measures. He is currently seeking more volunteers from African countries to collect data for real-time analysis and more epidemiologists and statisticians to work on epidemiological modelling and forecasting. Darlington Ahiale Akogo Ghana
Protective Shields and Masks These are 3D printed shields and masks. They were printed in a matter of days and distributed at no cost to select health facilities. Regent Business School South Africa
Self-sanitising Face Mask The Africa Centre of Excellence for Materials, Product Development & Nanotechnology developed a self-sanitising facemask with an inbuilt sanitiser, allowing for real-time disinfection. The logistics challenge of protective gears compounded by lack of efficient masks requires the need for reusable masks; therefore this mask can abet the logistics challenge of face masks since it is reusable, and also minimizes the rate of health worker hospital-acquired infection since it allows for frequent sanitisation. Africa Centre of Excellence for Materials, Product Development & Nanotechnology (Makereke University) and CODEK Engineering Ltd Uganda
Hand Washing Unit Due to the central role of hand-washing in slowing the transmission of COVID-19, a small pilot project was run in an informal settlement north of Johannesburg using a novel innovation manufactured by South African company Envirosan. The simple hand-washing unit comprises a standard two-litre plastic bottle that is fitted with a self-closing tip tap valve. The bottle is placed into a wall-mounted plastic bracket incorporating a ribbed soap holder and peg to accommodate a face cloth or small towel. It was picked up by a few corporations that helped fund the installation in several informal settlements across Gauteng. Envirosan South Africa
Drones The drones provide awareness for COVID-19 and prevent gatherings to limit the spread of the virus. The Ministry of Interior launched drones in several areas that spread awareness messages through loudspeakers about the importance of abiding by the social distancing measures.  Ministry of Interior Qatar
e-Shopping The food shopping appointment reservation system was initiated to regulate the shopping for food in the shops.  Council of Ministers, Ministry of Health, Central Agency for Information Technology, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Public Authority for Civil Information, Ministry of Education, Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority Kuwait
Portero Android application for managing waiting lines in shopping centres. It allows customers to keep healthy distance when buying a product or ordering  a service.  Ministry of Public Health and University of Computer Science; Ministry of Internal Trade and University of Computer Sciences Cuba
Citizen Map The Citizen Map (site and app), which provides georeferenced information for public services and allows users to get digital queue tickets for onsite public services, was updated with a view to: Ensuring there are no “open” queue tickets and providing textual and graphic information (including a new splash screen and banner) to users; Targeting citizens, to help prevent crowding in on-site counters (in conjunction with ePortugal); Clicking for action for services on digital channels (in conjunction with ePortugal); Clicking for action to obtain information and answer questions (in conjunction with the Citizen Contact Centre and Business Contact Centre); Clicking for action to request placement for pre-scheduling services (in conjunction with the entities responsible for the service). There are other small improvements foreseen: Backend (invisible to the user): for instance, immediate map information update system, performance improvement, etc. Frontend: accessibility, click to call throughout the Map, etc.  Ministry of Digital Affairs Portugal
Cooperation and crowd-working models in the field of 3D-printing Austria expanded the production possibilities of protective masks and shields through a cooperation arrangement of the healthcare sector, universities and pioneers in 3D printing. In order to further increase the capacity, the company Happylap started a nationwide crowd-funding initiative or “crowd-printing” process for the production of facial protection shields.  Private sector in cooperation with wider health sector Austria
Application for free masks The application offers free-of-charge masks to all citizens between the ages of 2065. The national post and telegraph directorate of Turkey delivers the masks to the people.  Ministry of Health Turkey
Transparency in the sales of protective masks The Korean government discloses the sales data of government-rationed masks with complete transparency. Based on this data, Korean companies and citizens have created apps that alert users of mask availability at pharmacies in close proximity. They also provide detailed information on the locations of pharmacies, how many masks have been brought to those pharmacies, and how many remain in stock in real-time  Central Government, private companies  Republic of Korea
Getting protection masks for your employees” online service The Government of Monaco provides protection masks for people living and working in Monaco. It created an online service which allows companies to get protection masks directly from the government. Companies provide their information using the online service and can retrieve their masks once their eligibility has been confirmed.  Inter-ministerial Delegation for Digital Transition (DITN) Monaco
Free Covid-19 Drive Through Testing There was a national backlog of Covid-19 testing, and as a result, the Western Cape government, for example, decided not to test people aged 55 or younger in the Cape Town metro if they have no underlying conditions. In order to qualify for the free testing, applicants can't be a member of a medical scheme nor be employed. Other criteria may include whether the person is a pensioner, disabled or orphaned. Swabs are taken at Dis-chem stores and drive through stations. They are sent to a lab for PCR testing, and results are returned to the patient. Processing is done using the VULAMOBILE App. Dis-chem and Solidarity Fund South Africa
Screening Covid-19 Using Cellphones The phased return of learners to schools requires the mandatory daily screening and listing of all people entering the premises. This process and its resulting records need to be documented, and the records need to be stored centrally and, when required, shared with or reported to health authorities. It is a  screening and data-recording kit has been developed that involves that every person authorised to enter a particular property is issued with an identification token, and that all points of entry are equipped with a recording station, which, among other things, houses a database, a token reader, a digital thermometer and a simple user interface that employs an Android-operated cellphone. This kit will mean significant time savings for the education and work sectors, and may have a radical impact on lockdown screening protocols. Data capturing at Covid-19 health screening points will be done using QR codes as identification tokens and commercial off-the-shelf infrared digital thermometers, with the data being gathered by a standard entry-level smart cellphone. North West University South Africa
Train of Hope Previously operating as a general health services facility offering dentistry, eye checks and counselling services in more than 70 of South Africa's rural communities, the state-funded train has been re-purposed as a locomotive of "hope" in South Africa's fight against the coronavirus. The train is an equipped mobile clinic that provides Covid-19 screening to remote rural areas. Department of Health South Africa
Transnet Phelophepa Healthcare Train Transnet in partnership with the Solidarity Fund recently handed over a mobile clinic to the department of health in KwaZulu-Natal. The aim of the Transnet Phelophepa health-care train is to boost Covid-19 screening and provide assistance in psychology, general health, dental and eye care, as well as a pharmacy. The train is made up of 19 coaches, each about 20m long. Staff can see up 1,500 people a day in various cubicles, some with beds and others with chairs, where patients will be tested. Furthermore, the mobile service will also minimize the congestion levels at local clinics. Transnet in partnership with the Solidarity Fund recently handed over a mobile clinic to the department of health in KwaZulu-Natal. The aim of the Transnet Phelophepa health-care train is to boost Covid-19 screening and provide assistance in psychology, general health, dental and eye care, as well as a pharmacy. The train is made up of 19 coaches, each about 20m long. Staff can see up 1,500 people a day in various cubicles, some with beds and others with chairs, where patients will be tested. Furthermore, the mobile service will also minimize the congestion levels at local clinics. South Africa
Web-based X-ray lung scans Engineers in Tunisia have created an online platform that scans lung X-rays to try to determine if a person could be suffering from coronavirus. When an X-ray is uploaded onto the platform, it runs a test to detect signs of a possible coronavirus infection. Researchers at the National Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Tunis say the tool is 90% effective in indicating the probability of infection. The platform is still in development, but thousands of lung X-rays have been fed into the system to enable it to recognise the impact of Covid-19 on lungs. While it's not the first initiative of its kind in the world, its creators say it is the first to be openly available. And though not a diagnostic tool, the technology provides a "90 percent" reliable indication of the probability of infection, they add.  The National Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (INSAT) Tunisia
qPCR South African tech entrepreneurs Daniel Ndima and Dineo Lioma have created a Covid-19 testing kit which provides results in just 65 minutes. Typically, it can take up to three days for Covid-19 tests to produce results. The testing kit is known as qPCR, and features a technology used to measure DNA. The testing kit needs to undergo regulatory approval before it can be rolled out. Daniel Ndima and Dineo Lioma South Africa
VigilantGantry VigilantGantry is an AI-driven automated temperature screening gantry that augments existing thermal systems to enhance the rate of contactless scanning, saving time and manpower. GovTech has developed self-help temperature scanners using existing contactless off-the-shelf battery-operated infrared thermometers and other materials.  The thermometer is retrofitted with a motion-sensing camera and a power source to enable temperature scanning without human intervention. This system is being deployed to Government buildings and community facilities to support temperature screening operations there.  Government Technology Agency Singapore
1MAP for COVID screening centres and health facilities The 1MAP Health Facility Locator app can help the public locate newly launched COVID-19 screening drive-through centres and all other health facilities across the UAE including hospitals, health centres and clinics. Users can search for various facility details, location or proximity from their current location or any other location.  UAE Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority United Arab Emirates
COVID-19 screening module Using the COVID-19 online screening module, general practitioners can schedule e-referrals for COVID-19 testing. The doctor is entering the patient answers from the epidemiological questionnaires prepared by the National Commission on Communicable Diseases in the National System for Electronic Health Records “Moj Termin”. The system uses an algorithm and is based on the answers it is automatically creating the e-referral. The system then sends an SMS to the patient with the date, time and place of the scheduled testing. Through the integrated system, the doctor who issued the e-referral receives the result of the test in real time.  Ministry of Health North Macedonia
Expeditious delivery of COVID-19 test results The national myHealth portal was reconfigured to allow quick delivery of COVID-19 test results. In addition, results are being delivered to tested people through an SMS gateway and via email.  Ministry for Health Malta
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