#COVIDPositiveStories – Aminat Ibrahim

Meet Aminat Modupe Ibrahim, a Kectil Colleague, and the team lead at MayMed Innova. This is her #COVIDPositiveStory.

At the onset of the coronavirus, I was informing people who follow me on social media on the virus and how they can stay safe. When the first index person was reported in Nigeria, I knew that if we do not take the necessary precautions, we will experience a spread of the virus which will lead to a need for emergency ventilators. 

I set up a team made up of friends to design ventilators with the hope of coming up with a first design within a week. However, we had challenges with cropping up the design and procuring materials. Since we could not get our first ventilator made, we decided to come up with face shields to help health workers who have to treat people who have contracted the virus. Our approach is to protect health care workers and provide alternative support for personal protective equipment (PPE). We developed face shields locally using clinical grades to safeguard the lives of our front-liners (doctors, nurses, etc) who are in direct contact with the patients.

The model of our face shield was first inspired from open source design online, but as a biomedical engineer, I knew we had to do more by researching the standards across all relevant agencies to come up with a suitable design for our face shield. We used 3D technology to produce 100 units of the face shields with the help of sponsors like Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation and Wennovation Hub and donated it to the Lagos State Government. 

After this, we realized that the number of health workers that are vulnerable to this is still huge, and how many can 100 units cover given the number of health workers (nurses, doctors, lab attendance, emergency respondents, pharmacists, etc.) that we have in the country. There is also a lot of person(s) both individuals and organizations reaching out to us to request for these items since it is an essential PPE. So, the team and other partners came in to mass-produce using local manufacturing technology, we created a website maymedinnova.com for people to place their orders and connect with buyers both nationally and internationally. 

It is pertinent to note that we are not just producing for health workers alone; rather we are producing for every individual out there that wants to keep themselves and their family safe. For instance, the government is worried about opening of schools and Parents are also worried about leaving their wards to resume back to school, this is a safety measure that the government can put in place to ensure the safety of the students and the teachers alike because our products can be used by teachers and students to protect themselves. So yes, we’d definitely continue with our production of face shields in Nigeria to be sold at a relatively low-cost. This will ease the access to PPE, contribute to the Nigerian economy, and create job opportunities amongst youths.

I can categorically say that I have added to my pool of knowledge over the past few weeks. From personnel management, record keeping, project management, interpersonal relationships, making the right decisions, people trusting your decisions, improving my research skills, and many more. I have also learned about managerial roles and multitasking. 

We really need the government to intensify their efforts in supporting idealists and startups and the government should do more in embracing local contents. 

I have always wanted to be a motivator for the younger generation. Most times when I do something, I think of being a role model that people can always look up to, I motivate myself to be better and to do what people think is impossible. My advice for fellow youths is that they should always believe in themselves, they should always do what is right, they shouldn’t be money-driven and they should take the leap because “Success comes when opportunity meets preparation”.