African Innovation: Battery Powered D-Box Ventilator


The World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that non-communicable and lifestyle diseases account for about 68% of deaths in high-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these top killers include lower respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, diarrhea and malaria which are preventable and treatable when people have access to adequate healthcare systems and resources.

Chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis and lung cancer, are major causes of illness and death among Africans. These may start in childhood through exposure to infection, indoor air pollution and tobacco smoke and cause great disability and eventual death in older adults. Chronic respiratory diseases have received little attention but evidence suggests that the burden of disease attributable to them is substantial and underreported.

With this in mind, Nigerian doctor, Dayo Olakulehin, has invented a cheap, portable, rechargeable and easy to use battery-powered ventilator. A ventilator is a machine designed to mechanically move breathable air into and out of the lungs, to provide the mechanism of breathing for a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently.

The D-Box is an innovative ventilator designed to automate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) bags and deliver controlled breaths to patients with respiratory problems. Conventional ventilators cost on average $30,000 while low-cost alternatives can be bought for about $3,000. Dr. Olakulehin’s invention is also revolutionary because it starts at about $300.

I went online looking for help, and I found a course on Healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship. This course taught me how to develop a patent. I approached a number of medical device companies and found out it was a lot easier to sell a product than to sell an idea.- Dayo Olakulehin

Dr. Olakulehin studied at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL)/Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).  He is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of LigandCorp and the founder of Africa’s first of its kind Medical Innovation Hub, PAMIH. D-Box is a joint venture product of the Canadian product development firm Inertia Engineering + Design, headed up by Ray Minato and LigandCorp.

The D-Box ventilator is expected on the market in about 16 months.


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