The quick and the clean
Updated: Apr 16
Providing our technical know-how to help fight COVID-19 has been a large focus for Field Ready staff these last few weeks. In Samoa, that meant getting 15 hands-free foot taps built and installed in just four days to help keep handwashing safe and sanitary.
Brynmor John, Field Ready global technical lead, recently helped students and staff at the National University of Samoa in Apia, Samoa, build the foot taps in just four days and installed them on Samoan health centers and the capital city’s airport.
The taps have proven a simple yet highly effective way to battle COVID-19, enabling hand washing without contaminating sink fixtures or threatening personal sanitation once hands are clean. Field Ready recently installed similar foot taps in Nepal, and there are plans to install more in Fiji as well.
The materials were donated by UNICEF. Once built at the university, the taps were installed at NUS, in hospitals at Leulumoega, Motootua, Poutasi and Savai, and at Faleolo International Airport.
Fifteen NUS plumbing students, aged 17 to 22, and their staff lecturers Meki Taula and Vaieli Latu “went above and beyond” to get the taps built and installed before the university shut down to prevent COVID-19 spread, John said. “They were really, really focused, enthusiastic and dedicated.”
The group also began building five more taps, but will have to finish them later this year when the university re-opens, he said.
While completed in record time, the taps and their installation were the result of months-long planning between Field Ready, NUS and UNICEF. Healthcare workers have already given “very positive” feedback about their use.
Although the school shutdown had to temporarily pause the project, NUS is "also hoping to have more of these kinds of projects for our community in the future,” said NUS Dean Lineta Tamanikaiyaroi.
“This is a great example of how locally available skills and materials can be galvanized to create solutions to humanitarian needs - it cuts costs and reduces dependence on imported solutions, which is often a real barrier to small remote island nations like Samoa," said Luke Johnston, Field Ready's Pacific innovation lead. "We hope our growing partnership with UNICEF, the Samoa Health Department and the National University of Samoa will continue to provide much-needed items to improve health, water and sanitation and hygiene services to reduce suffering while building technical skills and self-reliance in the country.”