As the nations of the world groans and grieves under the siege of Covid-19 pandemic, African scientists are being challenged to help Africa look inwards and create effective homegrown solutions in combating the pandemic.
As widely advised and mandated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, wearing face masks can help reduce the community spread of respiratory infections such as COVID-19. Thus, wearing of face masks is crucial at a critical time that we are in.
Stemming from this, the World Bank sponsored Africa Centre of Excellence, a technology innovation park of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Nigeria, is leading the way through the production of Nose Mask, a key Personal Protective Equipment as part of the concerted response against COVID-19.
According to the Head of Department of Computer Science at OAU, Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, “The IfeMask, as code named, is a wholly locally designed, developed and produced nose mask by the World Bank sponsored OAU ICT-Driven Knowledge Park (OAK-Park).
“The mask is unique. It draws its uniqueness in its durability, reusability and comfortability. The reinforced rubber material and acrylic painted body makes it possible to be washed and decontaminate after each use. The mask does not change shape on reuse and is comfortable to wear.
Aderounmu who also doubles as the immediate past president of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) stated that the IfeMask also embeds an N95 compliant high-efficiency particulate air filter material which allow for breathing while trapping foreign objects. The filtering material can be changed after each use. The detachable mask is easy to assemble and dissemble within 2 minutes.
Furthermore, he noted that, “the design, developing and production of IfeMask aligns with the vision of the World Bank, to create regionally-recognized and acknowledged Centres in Africa that is driven by high quality, commercialized research and technology; and in the case of OAK-Park, to also advance the growth of ICT industry. OAK-Park has been a trailblazer in this regard with other products such as drone and finger print scanner all locally produced in its line.
Currently, the Park is engaging potential manufacturers for a large scale production of the Ife Mask in order to make it widely available.