I am relatively young and can say I live with many privileges my parent could not even dream of, the biggest of which, is electricity and Internet. However, I have heard my parents and grandparents narrate stories about how life used to be when they were growing up, without electricity, Internet and all the home appliances that we have become so much accustomed to that we no longer appreciate them.
Only a few office buildings and a handful of influential people had electricity in their homes. These days a lot has changed, electricity is virtually in every office building and homes, even in the rural areas. While there is still a long way to go as far are reliable and fast Internet connection is concerned, but still there is commendable progress.
I am sure the same can be said to most other African countries, electricity is becoming a common thing. As to how reliable that electricity is, is a different issue together. Most African cities are plagued by unreliable electricity supply characterized by frequent blackouts that sometimes comes without any prior warning and could go for hours and sometimes even days consecutively.
The sectors that are badly hit include businesses, health care services and security systems running on electricity. It is not uncommon to hear that the doctors lost a patient who was being operated on at the theatre room when without warning there was a blackout. Sometimes it ends up with the doctors losing a patient or their surgery severely compromised given the backup generator kicked in at the last minute.
Image Credit: designindaba.com
In addressing the blackout menace, a 21-year-old Nigerian, Louise Jaiyeola Oduyoye studying at the University of Derby, UK has come up with a device to act as power backup in hospital theatre rooms. Dubbed Neva, this is a temporary electricity backup that can power surgical theatres in the event of a blackout, thus reducing the risks that comes with power outages.
The Neva works on the same principle as the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and can be customized for use in many situation. Neva is powered by a replaceable lithium ion battery pack that can support up to 60 charge cycles, and provide the much needed power to critical machines in the theatres.
A generator would give power when there is a blackout, but there is always a delay between when the blackout happens and when the generator kicks in to power supplied to the equipment. That time lapse could prove dangerous when critical machines are off in the middle of a medical surgery.
Oduyoye while speaking to This Day, said Neva was “developed for countries that have difficulty accessing uninterrupted power supplies so they can perform these surgeries in-country rather that fly people out.”
Oduyoye is currently taking Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Loughborough University. She came up with Neva as part of her qualifications for qualifying for her first degree in Product Design Engineering at the University of Derby.