The outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria caught many unawares. 

It was an event most people were unprepared for and the institutions across different sectors were no different. It seemed like a joke at first and so many of us thought we would get rid of the virus in no time, because we are used to bouncing back from difficulties in Nigeria. However, the government started putting measures in place as the cases started increasing. It was then we realized the coronavirus is no joke. 

The media swung into action almost immediately, creating awareness about safety protocols to combat the coronavirus. But I did not see content suitable for children to learn about the changes happening in their world. 

As Africa passes more than a million confirmed Covid-19 cases, innovators on the continent have responded to the challenges of the pandemic with a wide range of creative inventions. Here are 10 we've picked out.
 
1. 'Doctor Car' robot
Students from the Dakar Polytechnic School in Senegal have built a multifunctional robot designed to lower the risk of Covid-19 contamination from patients to caregivers.
The device is equipped with cameras and is remotely controlled via an app. The designers say it can move around the rooms of quarantined patients to take their temperatures and deliver drugs and food.
 
2. Automatic hand-washing machine
Nine-year-old Kenyan schoolboy Stephen Wamukota invented a wooden hand-washing machine to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
The machine allows users to tip a bucket of water to wash their hands by using a foot pedal. This helps users avoid touching surfaces to reduce the risk of infection.
Stephen was given a presidential award in June.
 
3. The Respire-19 portable ventilator
Amid a shortage of ventilators on Covid-19 wards in Nigeria, 20-year-old engineering student Usman Dalhatu attempted to help meet the shortfall.
Dalhatu built the portable automatic ventilator to help people with respiratory problems - often a symptom of a severe coronavirus infection. He now plans to build up to 20 ventilators.
 
4. 3D mask printing
Natalie Raphil is the founder of Artificial Intelligence company Robots Can Think South Africa.
She's using 3D printers to produce 100 masks a day for use in some of Johannesburg's major hospitals. South Africa accounts for around half of all reported coronavirus cases in Africa.
 
5. Solar-powered hand-washing sink
Amid a lockdown in Ghana aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, shoemaker Richard Kwarteng and his brother Jude Osei decided to design a solar-powered hand-washing basin.
When hands come into contact with a sensor on the device, soapy water is automatically released. An alarm goes off after 25 seconds of hand-washing - within the timescale recommended by the World Health Organization.
 
6. Web-based X-ray lung scans
Engineers in Tunisia have created an online platform that scans lung X-rays to try to determine if a person could be suffering from coronavirus.
When an X-ray is uploaded onto the platform, it runs a test to detect signs of a possible coronavirus infection. Researchers at the National Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Tunis say the tool is 90% effective in indicating the probability of infection.
The platform is still in development, but thousands of lung X-rays have been fed into the system to enable it to recognise the impact of Covid-19 on lungs.
 
7. Police robots on lockdown patrol
Authorities in Tunisia deployed police robots on the streets of the capital Tunis in April to enforce lockdown measures.
The surveillance robots, called PGuards, spied on people walking on the street and approached them to ask why they were out.
Offenders then had to show their ID and other documents to the cameras attached to the robots. The four-wheeled devices are equipped with thermal-imaging cameras and light detection and ranging technology.
 
8. Wooden money sanitiser
Kenyan mobile money agent Danson Wanjohi has built a wooden device that sanitises cash notes that are passed through a slot in the machine.
Wanjohi constructed the mechanism using a motor, a rubber band and gears which enable notes to pass through the machine.
As the notes pass through the device, they are cleaned with a sanitising solution.
 
9. Rapid 65-minute Covid-19 testing kit
South African tech entrepreneurs Daniel Ndima and Dineo Lioma have created a Covid-19 testing kit which provides results in just 65 minutes.
Typically, it can take up to three days for Covid-19 tests to produce results.
The testing kit is known as qPCR, and features a technology used to measure DNA. The testing kit needs to undergo regulatory approval before it can be rolled out.
 
10. Socially distanced haircuts
In Ethiopia, barbers have come up with a way to continue cutting hair for clients while minimising the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
The barbers stand in a specially constructed booth which acts as a partition separating them from clients, minimising person-to-person contact.
 
Source: BBC News
 
 

TRIALS to develop a $1 covid-19 testing kit that produces results in less than 10 minutes are under way in Senegal. If it works, the test could be a vital tool in sub-Saharan Africa.

Researchers at DiaTropix, an infectious disease testing facility run by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, are working alongside UK-based company Mologic to manufacture the diagnostic kits.

The prototype is similar to a home pregnancy kit and can be used either to detect current infections through saliva antigens or previous infections by blood antibodies. The institute says it could be rolled out next month if the trials show it works well enough.

Tunisian engineers have created a web-based platform that scans lung X-rays and evaluates whether patients are likely to be suffering from the novel coronavirus.

While it's not the first initiative of its kind in the world, its creators say it is the first to be openly available. And though not a , the technology provides a "90 percent" reliable indication of the probability of infection, they add.

Teachers and students at the Tunisian engineering and technology institute INSAT have been developing the platform—COVID-19 Exam Ct/XR images by AI—since mid-March, with the support of German development agency GIZ, the Italian Society of Medical Radiology and US tech giant IBM.