The COVID-19 outbreak has led institutions to explore their creative and innovative potentials. Being centers of intellectual hub, Universities worldwide have come forward with innovative means to tackle the unprecedented global challenge that has claimed lives of multitudes. Jimma University, one of the senior Universities in Ethiopia, has proactively engaged in the fight against this pandemic taking leading initiatives ranging from massive awareness creation activity, establishing testing, treatment. quarantine and isolation Centers, to developing research based and innovative solutions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The University’s efforts have recently been recognized by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MOSHE) as exemplar putting JU among the six universities in the country to have exerted significant efforts in the fight against the pandemic.
In the determined fight to win the COVID-19 battle, JU’s resolute staff members have come up with innovative technologies that assist the fight. The search for innovative solutions amidst the crisis has led to the development of prototypes for UV technology, mechanical ventilator, automatic soap and water dispenser, foot pedal operated hand-washing machine, pedal sanitizer dispensers for offices, face-masks, face shields and production of standard sanitizers. The innovative initiatives also included the development of a multipurpose, multilingual mobile and web apps used for tracking and identifying suspected cases, case reporting, data management and visualization. Young and dedicated staff at the University’s Center for Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Technology (JIT), and ICT are contributing their share through engaging in the development of innovative technologies.
The creative solutions by JU’s team of innovators are gaining acclamation at national level. Two of the projects (the Simbona UV Technology (by Habtamu Abafoge) and Mechanical Ventilator (by Dr. Gizeaddis Lamesgin, Hundesa Daba, Derartu Dereje, Addis Gashaw, Adane Taddesse, Eyuel Abate and Wasihun Alemayehu)) have recently won recognition from the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology. Amidst the COVID-19 challenge, and resource as well as financial hurdles, the teams are currently exerting maximum efforts to get the products to end users. JU believes these innovative solutions are worth recognition and support, and extends its full support towards the finalization of the projects so that they serve the purposes intended. The University also extends its appreciation to the team for the well-deserved acclaim won at national level.
JU believes these and other innovative means are needed now more than ever to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The recent high rise in the number of cases being reported daily by the Ministry of Health are indicative of the fact that there is a long way ahead to win the battle for the country. The latest report (May 30, 2020) indicates that the total number has risen to 1063. Hence, it is imperative to pool efforts together, devise and use innovative solutions for the prevention and containing of the spread of the virus, and above all, it is compulsory to strictly follow the instructions given by the front-line fighters, the self-sacrificing health professionals.