Ghanaian Engineers Develop Ventilators To Win UK-supported Tech Challenge

A team of engineers from Ghana have come out winners of the ventilator design challenge hosted by Field Ready Ltd, a UK SME that partners with government and industry to equip young Africans.

Field Ready runs employability programmes to prepare young graduates with the skills, knowledge and behaviours expected by industrial companies.

Sixteen teams of male and female engineers, students and alumni of Field Ready’s employability programmes in Mozambique and Ghana, took up the challenge to design a ventilator that balanced engineering excellence with medical applicability and manufacturing practicality.

The four-week challenge, to design a simple, practical and scalable ventilator, was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and saw ‘Team Marvel’- a team of three young engineers from Ghana- Patience Nortey, Nelly Appertey and Ishmael Asare, emerge winners.

A spokesperson for the company pointed out that the inspiration behind the challenge was not only from their desire to fulfil their objective of training local talent in the face of the stay at home restrictions being globally observed; but also spotlight the remarkable potential of local talent if given the needed support and guidance.

Jack Pegram, Managing Director of Field Ready said: “Everyone at Field Ready has been amazed by the response of our students – with some incredibly innovative designs. It makes us very proud to be helping these talented young people become the engineering leaders of the future.”

“This is a great example of an engineering community coming together to create innovation for social good,” he added.

“We are extremely proud to be a part of this initiative as it not only is in aid of ramping up efforts to help curb COVID-19, but we also get to work with and mentor a team of young individuals to perfect their design and ultimately manufacture a prototype”, he stressed.

The winning teams will all receive prizes sponsored by Sasol, Daystar Power and Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), and the final design will be presented to the minister of employment and labour in Ghana and the minister of science, technology, professional, higher and technical education in Mozambique.

All teams were mentored, and judged, by an expert panel of leading figures in academia, engineering and science experts from around the world.

Some of them include ventilator design project team E-vent from M.I.T, Virgin Orbit, University of California and Texas A&M’s Bridge Ventilator Consortium, Cranfield University and Georgia Tech Bag Valve Mask, EPCM Holding’s ventilator, Kahanu ventilator and SEAT’s OxyGEN ventilator.

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT Africa) has been assisting Field Ready Ltd. across the continent by mapping out priority and strategic markets to enhance its footprint.

Their overseas teams, stationed in several countries across Africa, are also supporting expansion objectives into other parts of Africa including Nigeria, with introductions to potential partners and collaborations like the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and a host of other entities.

Field Ready Ltd. and DIT Africa are also in talks with the Nigerian ministry of education to bring the youth enabling program to the Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech).

The next phase will see representatives from all the teams collaborate to improve on the winning design before proceeding to the production of a prototype.

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