A 21-year-old Somali mechanical engineer has invented a homemade respirator to try to help his country during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The east African nation is suffering from a severe lack of respiratory equipment, which concerned Mogadishu-based Mohamad Adawe.
Previously, medical staff in Somalia have mainly had to assist patients' breathing by manually pumping the equipment. This has also brought them into close contact with the infected people, heightening 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 are having difficulty breathing. It is immediately useable for saving lives.
"We don’t have economic might or a strong government in Somalia. To respond to this bad disease, I produced this device at a time when our people are suffering from a shortage of oxygen equipment.
"So, my automated device can be attached to the patient's face and moved away from them, as a social distancing measure."
"With my device, we can fight against COVID-19 while our country is facing a shortage of oxygen devices - and while other countries of the world hold ventilators and other devices in their warehouses."
Dr. Hussein Abdi-Aziz Abdulkadir, Director of the Somali Syrian Hospital in Mogadishu, hailed the significance of Adawe's invention:
"In the past, you always had to use your hands to squeeze the airbag of the device, to clear the airway of the patient.
"But now Mohamed Adawe has automated the device to help patients clear their airway and help with breathing at a time when there is an urgent need for this."
It's hoped Mohamad Adawe's innovation will help save lives: not just because it aids the patient in breathing, but also because it allows doctors to keep a safer distance from them, reducing the risk of contagion.