INNOVATION DURING THE HARD TIMES OF CORONAVIRUS
The Technical University of Mombasa, a world class university in the Patronship of Prof Laila
Abubakar, the Vice Chancellor is once again showing its prowess in matters innovation and
research by coming up with unique and effective solutions during the hard times of the
With a ventilator, an aerosol sprinkling sanitizer and 150 bed quarantine facility set up in the
institution in partnership with the County Government of Mombasa, the University based in
Mombasa has emerged the pacesetter.
This also includes a group of students who have taken their time, and together with their
lecturers have made and are in the process of making essential tools that will lead curb the
spread of the virus and save lives of the people. All this with the help of TUM Vice
Chancellor Laila Abubakar
This is part of TUM’S mission to give back to the community through the EPIC framework:
Educational Partnership for Innovation in Communities.
This is a framework by the University using its resources to create Change. To do this the
university is channelling the work of faculty and students to critical problems and
opportunities facing urban areas and addressing the challenges faced in communities.
So far, a team of 13 students from Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering
departments are making a one of a kind Ventilator/life saver machine basing on the fact
that they are now the equipment on high demand considering that Coronavirus patients
who have difficulty in breathing need assistance of a ventilator.
The ventilator is able to work in both adults and children and is is made with locally available
Michael Gitonga,24 the team leader of the group is a 5 th year student of Medical Engineering
at TUM. His team has been working tirelessly to come up with a prototype of a ventilator.
“We saw that the numbers are increasing daily. Yet there is a shortage of life saving
machines in Intensive Care Units across the country. That is why we saw the need to
improvise wit localy available materials to make our ventilators,” said Gitonga.
To make the prototype, the 13 students divided themselves in two groups. The mechanical
group and the control group. The machinal team will come up with how the outwards
appearance of the ventilator will be while the control group deal with the coding and
systems and vital parameters of the ventilator.
Upon completing the prototype, TUM is planning to present the prototype to the
government and the Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KEBS) who will give the young innovators a
go ahead for mass production.
Gitonga says that Bio medicals, like him, are unsung heroes and pray that the government
gives them a nod to continue mass production of this locally made ventilator. The ventilator
is portable, user friendly most importantly, cost efficient.
The ventilator is not just made using locally available materials, but because of this reasons,
the innovators are planning to sell it at a affordable price of about Sh200,000 each
compared to the current price of ventilators costing not less than one million Kenya
“We expect that afterach hospital in the country will have two or more of our ventilators,
making Mombasa County as a whole to produce students who have come up with such an
Mombasa Hospital, Pandya, Aga Khan who are providing advice and some equipment they
need. Same to non-governmental organizations like the Machele foundation.
We are happy that the TUM Vice Chancellor Laila Abubakar according us full support and we
know working together with the university administration will take us far.
Mercy Nafuna,22 a Medical Engineering student is the only girl in the team. She is inspired
by doing things that will better the society.
“ I am the coordinator between groups. I would be home during this time but the thought of
helping people who are in need made me part of this team to make ventilators and make
TUM make history in the country with such an innovation,”
The students have called it Friends Ventilator, deriving the name from the fact that they are
a combination of and have come together.
“ As a third world country, we depend on donations and imports of such machines. But with
the lock down, this is impossible, that is why as young people we have come up with this
innovation and this is just one of the great things we will be doing.
The team also works with Elkana Maina,22 a Biomedical Engineer and an alumna of TUM
who decided to help with his own ideas from his experience in the medical engineering field
to ensure that the Ventilator gets to work.
The innovators hope that they get the help from the government.
The Dean School of Engineering Prof Onchiri in partnership with registrar Partnership
Research and Innovation (PRI) DR Saulo works with lecturers Malombe and Sabore in
coordination with the students.
Together,the school administration has granted support To the important equipment and
tools they need in their final touches in making and testing the ventilator.
AEROSAL SPRINKLING SANITIZER.
TUM, in the County Government of Mombasa led by Governor Ali Hassan Joho is doing
mass production of aerosol sprinkling sanitizers which are used in public places across
Mombasa County majorly on the Likoni Ferry Channel, Nyali Bridge and Kongowea Market.
The Sanitizers are good for the skin and fabrics, inflammable and are human friendly since
they do not have any effect on the or smell and have no alcohol content.
This is also a one of a kind innovation that is set to help disinfect people and stop the spread
Th following team made their sacrifices to come up with this.
1. Dr. Rahma Udu, Biochemist; Dean School of Applied and health
2. Mr. John Mwangi Kahindo, Industrial Innovator; Pure and Applied Sciences Department.
3. Mr. Kennedy Litunda Agoyi, Technical Microbiologist and Laboratory Quality Assurance
expert; Pure and Applied Sciences Department.
4. Ms. Mercy Nyaribo, Chemical Technologist; Pure and Applied Sciences Department.
5. Prof. Josiah Ochieng Odalo, Lead Principal Scientist; Pure and Applied Sciences
150 BED ISOLATION FACILITY AT THE MARINE BLOCK
Currently, the art of giving back to the community TUM is hosting a 150 bed quarantine
facility at its Marine Block that will be launched soon by Mombasa Governor 001. The
facility will have the patients with experts Doctors, Nurses. The facility will also have
sanitizing areas, water, a cafeteria, laundry services, 24 hour electricity, good ventilation
that will be facing the sea at Nyali Bridge.
It will also have recreation facilities such as the entertainment form Movies and Television,
sports and a play ground.
Additionally, the newly made ventilators, an innovations by the students will first be used in
the facility before being supplied to other hospitals.
TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF MOMBASA I s also applying every code of staying safe from the
spread of COVID-19 encouraging its staff to sanitize, wash hands and practice social
It is also currently using Zoom for meetings and conferences, and online teaching by the
lecturers especially for the post graduate students who are given assignments through the
The corporate communications office has actively tweeted messages to students on safety
pins and updates on corona as well as creating awareness on social media platforms.