In many public spaces across Africa, including bus stops and shopping mall entries, handwashing booths have been provided in a bid to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. However, some of them do not exactly encourage hand washing.
Alex Obara, a teacher based in Nairobi, Kenya, thinks there’s a need for solutions to make hand washing attractive in the public spaces. “It is good to have all these booths; but when you see that you have to use your cleaned hands to close the tap, it just bothers you. So, some people will avoid it or leave the water running after washing their hands.”
These challenges, common across Africa, are inspiring innovations across the continent. In Ghana, Kwarteng Richard has developed Sola Wash, a solar powered touchless hand washing machine that dispenses soap and water.
The World Health Organization recommends frequent hand washing as one of the best ways to avoid infection from and further spread of the new coronavirus.
But not everybody is doing it well; most people wash their hands for too little time, or simply do not at all. In a study by Michigan State University, 95 percent of people observed failed to wash their hands long enough to kill harmful bacteria, after using the bathroom.
Kwarteng’s innovation comes weeks after the country’s President Nana Akufo-Addo announced that the government is putting in place measures to boost the local manufacturing of equipment to stem the spread of the virus.
The solar wash innovation falls directly into the administration’s policy of taking advantage of the grim situation the pandemic has created, to dig deep and exhibit the sense of ingenuity in the Ghanaian to attain the self-sufficient status it has always aspired to.
That declaration was made in April during the president’s fifth live covid-19 address to the nation from the seat of government – the Jubilee House – where he among other things said, ‘’Government is aware that more needs to be done especially in the face of the global shortage of PPEs. It is for this reason, the government has actively engaged with local manufacturing companies to assist in the domestic production of PPEs; and I’m encouraged by the response from the Ghanaian private sector. Domestic production of face masks, head covers, surgical scrubs and guns will commence from Tuesday.’’