Encouraging a Liberian Innovation to Fight Ebola

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The Daily Observer on page nine of yesterday’s edition carried a story of an improved Ebola bucket developed by a Liberian. 

The Ebola bucket with the faucet for hand washing that now appears at the entrance of nearly all public and private premises in the country since the outbreak of the deadly virus, contains a solution of chlorine and detergents referred to as the “Ebola soup”,  highly promoted to help stop the transmission of the virus. The bucket’s flaw that undermines its purpose, however, is that the scores or even hundreds of users handle the faucets to turn them on and off. 

Lewis K. Tealeh, a senior   communication specialist at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), has licked the flaw by developing an electronically powered faucet for the bucket.  This enhancement makes the Ebola bucket hands free. Users do not need to touch the faucet to turn it on and off.  Instead, the faucet is electronically powered by a battery that is activated by the hand washer’s foot. The battery is installed on the floor near the bucket. 

Mr. Tealeh has a dream of mass producing this new type of bucket so that it becomes available to people throughout the country.  But he needs help!

He is hoping that someone in government or in the local or international community, such as his own organization, LPRC, the National Port Authority (NPA), the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC); or the European Union, the American, Dutch or Norwegian governments could help him fulfill his dream to mass produce this bucket and make it available to all in Liberia.

Not only would it help people to take yet another step away from this deadly Ebola virus.  It would also put some money into the hands of this creative young Liberian.  This could inspire and empower him to conceive and develop more innovations, leading to a stream of technological inventions to improve people’s lives, create wealth and contribute to the nation’s modernization.

Remember the elementary beginning of the Wright Brothers in North Carolina, USA, who were mere bicycle sellers and mechanics.  Yet in the early 1900s they embarked upon an innovation that led to the invention of the airplane. 

Henry Ford, too, was an ordinary fellow in Detroit when he experimented with engines and tires that led to the invention of the automobile.

Alexander Graham Bell was trying to improve communication between himself and his hearing-impaired wife that led to the invention of the telephone.

We pray that somebody with the means will reach out to this Liberian, Lewis Tealeh, and help him mass produce this timely innovation springing out of a health crisis that has forced us to change and adopt the habit of washing hands upon entering public and private premises.

Liberians must begin to think and act to help our inventors, especially at this critical time—people like Mr. Tealeh. 

Let us do better than our well-to-do forebears, many of whom failed to develop our elementary and high schools that educated themselves.  Rather, when they became rich, instead of giving back to these schools that made them, by educating their children there and helping to further develop and modernize those schools, they sent their children abroad for primary, secondary and higher education, leaving the schools destitute.  These schools included the College of West Africa, St. Patrick’s and St. Teresa’s High and institutions in Grand Bassa, Sinoe, Cape Mount and Cape Palmas.  After the missionaries departed many of these institutions declined and are today mostly substandard or almost nonexistent.

Because very few wealthy people, if any, reached out to Liberia’s blind musical genius, Howard Benedict (Baby) Hayes, he died poor in his house on Front (now Sao Boso) Street.  Yet there were many wealthy families right on that same street.  Baby Hayes produced many musical masterpieces, including songs and operas.  And it is said that even though blind, he was often called upon by many churches and individuals to repair and tune their organs and pianos. 

We pray that a new generation  of Liberians will emerge with  the heart, mindset and vision  to start reaching out to help creative people in our  country—those in the creative   arts, literature, in the sciences and technology, and Liberian agriculturists, too, who have the talent and dream to move our country forward. 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks Mr. Tealeh, I have always been wondering about the wisdom of using the good old manual faucet/non automated “Ebola bucket” and the potential of the highly contagious epidemy spreading due to multiple reuse (retouch) of the faucet by several individuals. I earlier thought of an implementation of a “hands free” bucket container with proximity or motion detection sensors (whichever cheaper) integrated to the faucet or placed at a suitable location externally on/or around the faucet (sending a HIGH signal [1] when the hand is in close proximity to the faucet/outlet thereby activating/opening the “valve” letting the detergent or cleaning fluid out via the outlet). The circuit could be powered by a 5 volts lithium ion rechargeable battery ( could be powered by flexible portable solar cells with a possibility of being powered alternatively via the regular AC wall outlet (110/220 volts AC using a step down adapter/charger). The circuitry will cost around $ 5 USD a piece when produced massively.

    Bravo to Mr. Tealeh! Liberia needs people like you!

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