John ODHE, Yenagoa
A civil servant working with the Ministry of Works, Bayelsa State, Solomon Egberigbe has produced an automated hand washing machine to help contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Johnson Dagana, while receiving the equipment on behalf of the state government, described the development as wonderful and welcomed, explaining that the machine was a “touchless solar automated hand washing and sanitizing machine” which does not require physical contact with the machine when using it, adding that the machine was important especially in this era of covid-19.
He noted that the construction of the machine by a staff of the ministry was an indication that civil servants in the state were up and doing and could rise to the occasion when the need arises.
While commending the producer for making the state proud, the permanent secretary called on the state government to key into the new initiative to ensure mass-production of the machine to be distributed to all ministries and other public institutions in the state.
Also speaking, a director of engineering services department in the ministry, Richard lfidi, who described the machine as unique, also expressed joy that it was produced by an indigenous engineer, stressing that if given the enabling environment, Nigerian engineers could do the unexpected.
He expressed hope that the machine would help in curbing the spread of the pandemic if the producer would be supported by the state government to mass-produce the product for public use.
The director urged other engineers to also think outside the box and invent things that would be of benefit to the general public.
Responding, the producer of the equipment, revealed that the idea of constructing the came to him when he was overwhelmed with the burden on how best to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
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“This innovation was borne out of curiosity, concerns and observations made as a result of the death rate in foreign countries caused by the covid-19 pandemic. I became restless about the mode of transmission of the disease from one person to another which is ordinary contact.
“My concern was also on the warnings by health experts on the need for people to wash their hands regularly with water and soap. I came to realize that even in the process of washing our hands in public places, people still make contacts after washing of hands by touching the tap head when trying to lock it.
“I therefore thought that there must be a way to avoid touching the tap before and after washing or sanitizing your hands and that was how I arrived at this censored system of dispensing the soap and the sanitizer without touching the machine, using solar powered system,” he explained.
He said if supported financially, he had the capacity to produce as many sets of the equipment as possible.