Thursday, February 5, 2026
One major factor that contributed so hugely to many loss of lives was the inadequacy of medical equipment. The prices of medical equipment – hence, services - were so high good health was almost the prerogative of only the rich.
Many had to pay through their noses, while others resort to begging in order to settle huge medical bills. Often, patients had to be flown out of the country for treatments, not because there were no professionals to handle the situation, but because there were no equipment to support the treatment.
In 2016, a young Nigerian doctor, Dayo Olakulehin, invented a portable ventilator to help patients with respiratory failures. His inspiration came when, as an intern in 2012, he “had manually ventilated a five-year-old boy for four hours and at about 2 a.m., I fell asleep, only to be awakened by the boy’s father.” He then thought of inventing a mobile ventilator that could run on battery. He succeeded in his quest and launched the product, D-Box, in January of 2016.
At the time of its launch, D-Box cost 1% ($300) as much as conventional ventilators ($30,000). After massive sales successes were recorded in many African countries due to its low cost, mobility and dependability, the prices of ventilators began to drop globally. Despite this, D-Box continued to rise in acceptance – even in South America and Europe.
D-Box has also become the product of choice for many African and European military forces, who are often in need of the device at war fronts.
Ten years after, the product is now in its fifth version. Olakulehin’s vision is one that beats the shallow pursuit of money. Hence, his dedication to quality and affordability.
He undoubtedly opened the frontier of invention, products development and business for many local medical equipment companies now making the nation proud. After beaten the “can anything good come out of Nigeria?” myth, he opened the eyes of the world to the many medical equipment innovations in the nation. Hence, the massive investment witnessed in the sector in the last decade.
He is today celebrated across the globe for his invention and altruism.
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