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David Swann

Ebola - Bleach Dilution Gauge (EBDG)


Output: Design

This enquiry resulted in the design of a new tool to assist healthcare workers in the daily production of bleach dilutions for disinfecting patients, work surfaces and personal protective equipment contaminated with the virulent Ebola Virus Disease.

At the height of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, the research responded to an international emergency call by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for new innovations to support the management and care of Ebola patients.

Analysis of the contemporaneous literature identified operational guidance based upon historical protocols developed by the WHO and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the management of the 1995 Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo.

A critical component of infection control is the disinfection of personal protection equipment, surfaces and patients using 1:10 and 1:100 bleach concentrations. With no dedicated tool commercially available, field workers improvise and use a domestic container to measure the formulations as instructed by the WHO’s recommendations.

The research investigated this urgent and unmet need. Frugal thinking and a subtractive approach to design led to the development of a $1 plywood bleach gauge that incorporated two indentations to visually communicate fill levels for each formulation. The dimensional characteristics of the 14-Litre polyethylene buckets procured by NGOs were analysed. Dimensional variances necessitated the conception of an agile production strategy to supply a custom product with speed and agility. A truncated cone calculation tool supported the production of new measurement data to accurately determinethe linear positioning of gauge indentations to mirror the technical specification of the buckets procured with exactitude.

The research was disseminated in the WHO’s Compendium of Innovative Health Technologies for Low-Resource Settings (one of 127 products) and exhibited at the 3rd European Conference for Design4Health and the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Art’s Safe and Sound Exhibition.

Research Output

This collection of images displays the outputs from this project. Find out more details in the full case study below.

Research Method

Analysis of secondary data sources revealed rudimentary processes to manage and diminish the transmission of the virus within community settings. Notably, the continued referencing of the best practice outlined a 209 page manual produced by the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to manage the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1995.

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

To learn more about the output, methods and dissemination of this work, explore the full project submission.

Other Projects By

David Swann

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