Team Pathfinder Wins Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Award At 2023 Global Health Technologies Competition

Team Pathfinder has emerged winner of the $500 prize for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion award at the 2023 Global Health Technologies competition organised by the Rice University, Houston, Texas on April 21, 2023.

The team comprising some students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso presented a modified pit-latrine system that simultaneously addresses water, sanitation and hygiene and offers users a hygienic and inclusive toilet solution. The team called it a Disability Inclusive Latrine PAN (DILPAN).

The annual competition anchored by the Rice 360 Institute for Global Health Technologies features student teams from universities across the world who present low-cost technologies designed to address global health challenges in resource-limited settings.

The team is led by two students of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in LAUTECH – Taoheed Oyewo and Emmanuel Ayanwole.

Other members of the team, according to Rice University, include John Coker, Patrick Obumselu and Victoria Akintayo.

“They were recognised for best addressing diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the process of designing an accessibility-focused sanitary seat and cover to be used with open toilets, which are common throughout the world.”

The Nigerian students are part of winners from 27 teams from eight countries including Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and the United States of America who participated in the competition.

Disability Inclusive Latrine PAN (DILPAN)

Mr. Oyewo told Premium Times that DILPAN is designed to be installed on existing pit latrines.

In his words:

“Its features help improve hygiene and enhance accessibility and inclusiveness.

The system is based on a self-closing mechanism (trapdoor) that prevents odour, flies and other pests in the pit from gaining access into the pan and consequently minimises spread of diseases.”

He added that the trapdoor opens when faeces are dropped on the door thereby allowing the faeces to go into the pit and closes when no load is placed on it.

Other winners of the 2023 Global Health Technologies competition

A team of undergraduate students from Washington University in St. Louis, Fistula Fighters, won first place at the competition with their design of a custom-fitted urine collection cup and bag that are discretely integrated into a pair of bicycle shorts that can be worn under skirts or pants.

Team Fistula Fighters’ innovation addresses the management of urinary incontinence caused by a vesicovaginal fistula, an abnormal opening between the bladder and vaginal wall that causes involuntary discharge of urine from the vagina. Team Fistula Fighters also took home a $500 prize.

The Second place prize of $350 went to Rice’s Team TestTSH for its novel design of an easy-to-read, low-cost thyroid hormone test for newborns.

Saint Louis University’s Team Anemia Assessment in Resource-Poor Regions took the $250 prize for third place.

The Crystal Sea Award, a $500 prize for the project that best expanded innovation in materials sciences or digital innovation, went to Team Baby Belt from Bangladesh University for Engineering and Technology.

The team created a low-cost fetal heartbeat and uterine contraction monitor that can be used in the home to detect signs of preterm labour.

The $350 People’s Choice Award went to Team BambasúAid from Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia.

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