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Coronavirus: Ten African innovations to help tackle Covid-19

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Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique Dakar

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The Doctor Car robot

As Africa passes more than a million confirmed Covid-19 cases, innovators on the continent have responded to the challenges of the pandemic with a wide range of creative inventions. Here are 10 we’ve picked out.

1. ‘Doctor Car’ robot

Students from the Dakar Polytechnic School in Senegal have built a multifunctional robot designed to lower the risk of Covid-19 contamination from patients to caregivers.

The device is equipped with cameras and is remotely controlled via an app. The designers say it can move around the rooms of quarantined patients to take their temperatures and deliver drugs and food.

2. Automatic hand-washing machine

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James Wamukota

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Stephen received a presidential award for his invention

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.

3. The Respire-19 portable ventilator

Amid a shortage of ventilators on Covid-19 wards in Nigeria, 20-year-old engineering student Usman Dalhatu attempted to help meet the shortfall.

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Instagram / Usman Dalhatu

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Usman Dalhatu says he’s awaiting approval for his ventilator

Dalhatu built the portable automatic ventilator to help people with respiratory problems – often a symptom of a severe coronavirus infection. He now plans to build up to 20 ventilators.

4. 3D mask printing

Natalie Raphil is the founder of Artificial Intelligence company Robots Can Think South Africa.

She’s 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

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Getty Images

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.

7. Police robots on lockdown patrol

Authorities in Tunisia deployed police robots on the streets of the capital Tunis in April to enforce lockdown measures.

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EPA

The surveillance robots, called PGuards, spied on people walking on the street and approached them to ask why they were out.

Offenders then had to show their ID and other documents to the cameras attached to the robots. The four-wheeled devices are equipped with thermal-imaging cameras and light detection and ranging technology.

More about coronavirus in Africa:

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Media captionProfessor Ndeye Coumba Touré Kane is advocating for a greater use of face masks in Senegal.

8. Wooden money sanitiser

Kenyan mobile money agent Danson Wanjohi has built a wooden device that sanitises cash notes that are passed through a slot in the machine.

Wanjohi 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.

9. Rapid 65-minute Covid-19 testing kit

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.

10. Socially distanced haircuts

In Ethiopia, barbers have come up with a way to continue cutting hair for clients while minimising the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

The barbers stand in a specially constructed booth which acts as a partition separating them from clients, minimising person-to-person contact.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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