A 21-year-old Somali mechanical engineer invented a homemade respirator to try to help his country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The East African country is suffering from a serious lack of respiratory equipment, which MogadishuMohamad Adawe.
Previously, medical staff in Somalia mainly needed to help patients' breathing by manually pumping the equipment. This also put them in close contact with the infected people, increasing the risk of contagion.
Adawe says there was a real need for his invention:
"This device is used for patients in emergency situations, especially those who have difficulty breathing. It is immediately useful in saving lives.
"We don't have economic power or a strong government in Somalia. To respond to this bad illness, I produced this device at a time when our people suffer from a lack of oxygen equipment.
"So my automated device can be attached to the patient's face and away from him, as a measure of social distance."
"With my device, we can fight COVID-19 while our country faces a shortage of oxygen devices – and while other countries in the world keep fans and other devices in their warehouses."
Dr. Hussein Abdi-Aziz Abdulkadir, director of the Syrian Syrian Hospital in Mogadishu, welcomed the significance of Adawe's invention:
"In the past, you always had to use your hands to squeeze the device's airbag, to clear the patient's airway.
"But now Mohamed Adawe has automated the device to help patients clear their airways and breathe at a time when there is an urgent need for it."
Mohamad Adawe's innovation is expected to help save lives: not only because it helps the patient to breathe, but also because it allows doctors to keep a safer distance from them, reducing the risk of contagion.