Africa innovates Magazine -AI4DEV - Flipbook - Page 28
EDMUND MAPUTI (Zimbabwe)
A F FO R DA B L E V E N T I L ATO R
Edmund Maputi is a practical engineer who believes in
local solutions for local problems and using what one
has sustainably. A member of the Zimbabwe Institute
of Engineers (ZIE) and Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (ECZ), Edmund says his main areas of interest are
“reverse engineering and appropriate technology.”
When COVID-19 hit, Edmund he put his engineering design skills to work – creating a locally produced ventilator
that is cheaper to produce, distribute and maintain.
Soon after it became clear that COVID-19 might
overwhelm Zimbabwe’s health services, Edmund decided
to create a ventilator using affordable and locally sourced
parts. “There is a shortage of ventilators in Zimbabwe,
and the current ventilators on the market are too expensive for most Zimbabwean medical institutions,” Edmund
says, adding: “If no action is taken the health system will
be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients who require
assistance to breathe.”
PA RT N E R S H I P
His first prototype was produced in March 2020, and was
based on an open source design using a robotically compressed bag valve mask, which had satisfactory results.
With the assistance of the Ministry of Health officials in
Zimbabwe, Edmund consulted with experts and clinicians on the best way to improve the ventilators he had
28 SHOWCASING AFRICAN INNOVATION
created. His prototype’s success attracted the attention
and product development support from the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT). This partnership considerably
improved Edmund’s ventilator.
The improved ventilator model passed animal tests
at the University of Zimbabwe Veterinary Department.
Currently, procurement of medical grade parts for the
ventilator are in progress, so that it can also be connected
to anaesthesia systems for human trials.
I N N OVAT I O N H U B S TA RT - U P
Edmund is a PhD scholar at India’s Amity University. He
is also a lecturer and program coordinator in machine
design and evolutionary techniques at HIT. He also runs a
start-up innovation hub at HIT.
Edmund hopes that once fully functional the affordable
ventilator will be available beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, and be made readily available and accessible in
both urban and rural areas, both in Zimbabwe and across
the Southern African region.