At the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation final event earlier this month, Nigerian innovator Yusuf Bilesanmi was voted the “One To Watch” by the audience during the event.
Yusuf was one of the 12 innovators who pitched their innovations to a live audience who voted his – ShiVent – as one that showed promise and potential for impact. He also received a £5,000 prize.
ShiVent is a low-cost, non-electric and non-invasive ventilator for patients with respiratory
difficulties, available at a fraction of the cost of mechanical ventilators. Its simple design enables it to be operated by unspecialised healthcare workers.
ShiVent is designed for under-resourced clinics with unreliable electricity supply and limited access to specialist knowledge.
“In designing our solution, we noted the requirements and guidance of the NHS and MHRA (Medicines and Health Regulations Authority) in the UK on the standards required for a medically-compliant ventilator. After 10 weeks of development and testing, we are proud to introduce what we call the ShiVent, a Bubble Continuous Positive Air Pressure device,” Yusuf said.
Yusuf and his team developed ShiVent in response to the strain placed on healthcare systems during the Covid-19 pandemic. Using the principles of Bubble CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), the ShiVent blends air with a high-flow oxygen supply using a specifically designed Venturis air blender and delivers this to a patient still able to breathe by themselves. This is critical to the survival of patients experiencing respiratory distress.
The device only requires 150 to 200 cylinders of oxygen a day, at a rate of 5 to 12 litres of oxygen per minute (lpm). The Lagos State government currently uses 400 cylinders of oxygen a day, at 15 lpm.
With a global surge in Covid-19 cases, many countries’ healthcare systems lack the capacity to tackle this new challenge. Nigeria has as few as 288 mechanical ventilators serving almost 200 million people. The ShiVent is a simple, low cost ventilatory alternative which does not depend on electricity and is widely replicable.
ShiVent has completed functionality testing at the National Centre for Sports and Exercise and Medicine at Loughborough University and Leicester Royal Infirmary Hospital. It has also undergone preliminary clinical feasibility tests at NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, Glenfield Hospital, renowned for coronary and respiratory diseases. The results demonstrate that the device is indeed functional and meets CPAP requirements set by the Medicines and Health Regulatory Agency in the United Kingdom.
Chemical Engineer, Noël N’guessan of KubeKo won the 2021 prize for his biowaste equipment innovation for smallholder farmers in West Africa to efficiently manage and generate income from biowaste. He won the £25,000 prize.