African scientists have responded to the pandemic by developing a range of largely low-tech innovations to either ease testing/treatment or assist with adherence to the containment measures imposed by various states. In Dakar, Senegal, students built a multifunctional robot that helped caregivers treat patients while minimising the risk of infections; in Nigeria, another student built a portable ventilator (BBC News, 2020). In South Africa, a scientist developed a COVID-19 rapid testing kit, and, across the continent, there are many automated handwashing devices, such as the one designed by nine-year-old Stephen Wamukota in rural Kenya (UNDP, 2020: 12). The media houses that have showcased the work of African innovators developing COVID solutions have tended to focus heavily on men, inadvertently
giving the impression that women have not contributed to innovations in the last two years. Yet, women are also inventors. In fact, thirty-odd years before the global recognition of automated handwashing devices as a tool in the fight against COVID19, Veronica Bekoe in Ghana developed one such device.
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