Brothers invent a touch-free solar-powered hand-washing station.
In Kumasi, Ghana, 32-year-old shoemaker Richard Kwarteng and his brother Jude Osei, used the COVID-19 lockdown as inspiration to create an innovative new invention. In less than two days, the brothers were able to transform an old recycled metal barrel into a solar-powered hand-washing basin. With the help of an electrician friend, the men’s portable station was equipped with a 25-second timer, which should be the minimum hand-washing session according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC).
The CDC has insisted since the onset of the coronavirus that hand-washing is an important measure to take to combat its spread. Its website indicates, “Hand hygiene is an important part of the U.S. response to the international emergence of COVID-19. Practicing hand hygiene, which includes the use of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) or handwashing, is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens and infections in healthcare settings.” The CDC further recommends when water is not available, individuals should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer “with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol in healthcare settings.” It also states, “Unless hands are visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred over soap and water in most clinical situations due to evidence of better compliance compared to soap and water.”
Activating a no-touch sensor allows the inventive basin to dispense soapy water for 25 seconds. Then, after, it dispenses just enough water to rinse your hands off. In one “charge,” the machine can wash the hands of 150 individuals, according to its inventors.
“My brother and I decided we would create a basin to encourage regular hand-washing etiquette,” Kwarteng explained. When the product as complete, Osei recorded a video of Kwarteng demonstrating how to use the device and posted it on social media. The post immediately went viral.
“It was amazing to see the shares and likes,” Kwarteng said of the overwhelming response. “We started getting calls left and right. We were so proud of ourselves.”
In less than two days after the video was posted, Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation contacted the brothers to schedule a meeting regarding the construction of additional machines to be placed across the country.
The brothers were also endorsed by the President of Ghana, Nana Akuffu-Addo, and other global leaders such as the United Nations. The President of the UN affirmed in an address to the nation. “The Ghanaian sense of enterprise and innovation is beginning to be felt.”
“I pray this pandemic will go away and there are better days ahead,” Kwarteng said. “We hope this will help people to practice normal hand-washing etiquette and we are very grateful for everyone’s support.”
There are currently more than 4,000 active cases of coronavirus in Ghana alone. In all of Africa, there are nearly 200,000 cases and over 5,000 deaths to date.