In early April, a good friend and technical expert Yusuf Bilesanmi introduced a small group of 3D enthusiasts led by Aminat Ibrahim, a recent First Class graduate of Biomedical Engineering from the University of Ilorin (Better by Far) to me.
They had designed and were 3D-printing faceshields for donation to health workers. The good people of Wennovation Hub supported that effort as well as the folks at the Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation of Nigeria, resulting in a donation of 100 3D-printed face shields to Lagos State government in April.
However, we thought we could do more than just 3D print.
What if we could actually mass produce the face shields so as not to be limited by the costs of 3D printing? But what would that involve? Making a mould from the 3D design? Sourcing all the materials needed locally? Finding local expertise to manufacture? Tailors to sow? People to assemble? Packaging? Sterilisation?
And how could we get all these done while the whole country was on lockdown? Wasnt it easier to just import the face shields?
But that is why we are entrepreneurs! Taking on risks knowing we could fail but not being deterred by that fear, for courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.Tweet
And so the small team spread across different cities decided to take on the task.
For what was at stake was not just the production of a face shield to protect frontline workers against the virus, but our ability as young Nigerians to work together in the face of crisis to build, and to hope that this would be a tiny step on our path to birthing local design and manufacturing to meet our many needs as a nation in the health and aligned industries.
While the team had different designs, we decided to take on one of the more complex designs which was built around the Gillete ‘Razor and Blade’ strategy. Hence with the face shield built around a headframe, visors were disposable and replaceable, thus lowering usage costs for health workers as you could buy one shield with multiple visors which you could dispose of, and replace after some time rather than buying an entirely new face shield.
The product was aptly named Gaga (which in Yoruba language means screen/shield) and we went to work. I sought help on Facebook regarding identifying local mould makers and Damilare Adepoju came to our help and has done amazing over the last couple of weeks in the face of multiple challenges.
After several mis-steps from design changes, mould making issues, to power challenges, mobility barriers, and even sourcing materials, I am pleased to announce our young team of enthusiasts have now turned out thousands (and continue to produce more) of locally manufactured face shields produced with careful and experienced material selection and design consideration built to provide you optimum comfort and full protection against viral diseases.
Gaga X incorporates in its design an ample distance between the user’s face and the visor which allows the convenient use of other PPEs and allows the extraction of exhaled breath from under the face plate.
The device has a reuse and recycle feature and it is light in weight – about 40g for ease of mobility by health workers and other people for protection of the facial area from splashes, sprays and splatters of body fluid.
The team is grateful to the many health and technical experts, friends, and advisors who helped in reaching this goal.
While it is indeed a small step, transforming a young group of hobbyists, led by a young female engineer who is just finishing her NYSC, into Maymed Innova Ltd, a manufacturing outfit while the country is under total lockdown is no mean feat.
Now the team is taking orders for the shields, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
They will also deliver large orders to other cities on request.It can be ordered and provided to health workers, dentists,lab workers,pharmacists, and other public facing workers such as policemen, customer service reps, bankers, etc.
You can place orders for face-shields for your organization’s needs or for donation to health workers or security operatives by simply visiting the ordering page of the company or contacting the team at https://maymedinnova.com/Tweet
+234 (0) 806 812 0315, +234 (0) 701 852 8389
Every order serves not to just protect your loved ones or serve as a donation to our frontline health-workers, but also as a signal of support to this young team that they are on the right part of not always seeking the easy way out by wringing their fingers and lamenting, but rather taking on the tough things needed to build our local capabilities.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for the support.