Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, Dr. Francisca Unoma Nwafulugo, at the weekend, launched an automated, solar-powered anti-COVID-19 machine produced by engineers from the institution.
The automated machine, it was gathered, will be used to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the institution and beyond. It has three key devices, including water and soap dispenser, hand drier and hand sanitizer sessions. And the machine can attend to three persons simultaneously.
Unveiling the machine, Nwafulugo, an engineer, commended the polytechnic’s Anti-COVID-19 Technical Team, led by Mr. Christopher Osuji, an engineer, for their steadfastness and promptness in producing the multi-purpose machine.
Nwafulugo stated that the materials used in the production of the machine were all produced by the institution: “We cannot get tired of doing our best in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in our country. Recently, we donated personal protective equipment, including hand sanitizers and facemasks, to our host communities. Those items were produced 100 per cent by our staff and students and, today, we are launching our Anti-COVID-19 machine also produced 100 per cent by our staff and students.
“Very soon, the table water that is fully automated and paints that are also locally produced by the institution will be launched. Permit me to also add that the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, has commenced virtual learning for all the departments and I thank the director, academic planning, and our diligent lecturers for complying with that directive,” she said.
The rector called for the support, partnership and collaboration of the federal and state government and corporate organisations for the mass production of the machine, which, she said, could help in containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in government ministries and agencies, churches, markets and institutions such as banks.
“I have been reliably informed by the technical committee that about 20 (units) of this machine can be produced in just one week. Therefore, we are appealing for partnership and collaboration of both federal and state governments for mass production of the machine, as it will help in no small measure in fighting the spread of the pandemic in the country,” she said.
Earlier, the leader of the Anti COVID-19 Technical Team, Osuji, explained that the innovation was an answer to the clarion call of the rector who tasked the team and the entire polytechnic community to make use of their hands as much as their brains.
He further stated that the machine’s efficacy was guaranteed for a period of at least five years, while the solar power lasts more than 25 years.
“Once the water and sanitizer dispensers are filled, over 1,000 persons can use it before it finishes. Everything in the machine is fully automated. Once you step in, the water and soap dispenser mode will be activated automatically and you wash your hands with running water and soap and after that you move to the hand dryer device to dry your hand before moving to the last session, the hand sanitizer session, where your hands will be sanitized.
“We thank the rector who gave us the mandate to produce the machine and also sponsored its production 100 per cent. The machine can also be improved upon, if we get support from government and public-spirited individuals,” said Osuji.
The inauguration was witnessed by the rector, Dr. Nwafulugo, deputy rector, Dr. Izuchukwu Onu, registrar, Lady Stella Njaka, acting librarian, Nwabu Ezemba, acting bursar, Wilfred Agbo, director, medical services, Dr. Ifeoma Monago, director, academic planning, Uche Onyegbu, public relations officer of the polytechnic, Obini Onuchukwu, directors of the Atani and Ufuma campuses, Rowland Ofulue and Sir Harold Mbanusi, respectively, chief security officer, David Abdullahi, as well as deans and directors, among others.