John’s super-efficient disinfectant sprayer to combat COVID-19

COVID-19 response and young people

John Maneya
UNICEF Malawi/2020/John Maneya
13 August 2020

John Maneya is a 29-year-old Electrical and Electronics Engineer based in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city. For the past five years, he has worked in network administration, maintaining, upgrading, installing and testing highly sophisticated telecommunication and networking systems.  

John believes that there is a local solution to every problem. “Our future cannot depend on the government alone. The ultimate solutions lie in solid thinking, attitudes and actions of young people like me,” he explains.

Since COVID-19 started spreading across Malawi, John has not been able to visit his family or socialize with friends. He also misses the interactions with his work colleagues which boosts his morale. He has been thinking of ways to help fight the pandemic, and the UNICEF Malawi COVI-19 Youth Challenge presented a timely opportunity.

Many Malawians rely on daily earnings from their small-scale businesses which they cannot operate from home as is required to stop the spread of COVID-19. John thought of a solution to effectively disinfect their places of operation to prevent this virus from spreading while safeguarding their means of survival. He says his design is an improvement from the water-based disinfectants currently in use, which are labour-intensive and therefore not ideal for large-scale operations.

John has developed a steam-based disinfectant sprayer which he says is super-efficient and therefore suitable for large scale operations and can disinfect without necessarily wetting surfaces. Since it is steam-based, the disinfectant can reach the entire surface area as intended.

John hopes the solution will enable local businesses to operate in a safe and uncontaminated environment and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It can also be used in COVID-19 hotspots such as isolation centres, hospitals, churches, airports and many other public places.

He believes young people should collaborate and design such solutions to emerging problems and hopes for more opportunities for him and other youth to put their skills to use.