INDIA. Cochin, Kerala: 30-year-old Anas M M, an engineer with a specialization in microelectronics and an assistant professor in the Government Engineering College (GEC) of Wayanad, headed WISK ON WHEELS (Walk-in Sample Collection Kiosk On Wheels), a mobile COVID-19 testing and treatment van.
Finding solutions in times of crisis
Born and raised in Cochin, M M attended IIT-Guwahati and completed his Master’s degree course in microelectronics. M M became the branch counselor and innovation cell head at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in Cochin. He is also head of the National Service Scheme (NSS) Technical Cell (GEC Wayanad).
M M is no stranger to innovative solutions in times of crisis. As an NSS coordinator, Muhammed was instrumental in flood relief in 2018 when Kerala was drastically affected by floods.
In an interview with Transcontinental Times, M M said, “I also collaborated with the Kerala State Electricity Board during this time. I joined them and we cleaned around 500 houses which were filled with floodwater. We also worked hard to bring back electricity in the homes.”
Mobile access for citizens and COVID-19 patients
One of the most significant challenges citizens throughout the world have faced in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is how to test and keep people isolated from one another. M M headed a project to address both these issues: Bring testing to the people.
The mobile WISK is mounted inside a van and has multiple safety features like an ultra-violet treatment chamber, an automatic hand sanitizer, and a remote aerosol spraying mechanism. The Kiosk is capable of piling up the “exudation sample’’ after sterilization using the latest technology. The kiosk also comprises an automatic robotic hand sanitizer, a UV disinfection chamber to disinfect the exhaled air from the kiosk, and a communication system.
The communication system locates COVID-19 patients in the existing testing centers and to provide information to the patients.
This facility is also safe and beneficial for the health professionals as they can collect the COVID-19 sample without having to wear personal protection equipment. Approximately 20,000 COVID-19 samples have been collected by the kiosk.
M M said, “In March, the COVID issues were on the rise in Kerala. The principal of my college asked me to interact with the district collector. So, I went there with my colleague and met Dr. Adeela Abdullah. We discussed the need for a proper COVID-19 combating activity.”
A collaborative effort
M M and the staff of the college worked tirelessly with District Collector Dr. Adeela Adbullah, Wayanad District Health Department, ArogyaKeralam Wayanadand, and GEC Principle Dr. Anita V.S. to make the mobile COVID center a reality.
This kiosk is the first of its kind in Wayanad and the only one in Kerala. The financial liability for this was project was shouldered by the GEC, and was completed in just two weeks.
M M said, “Wayanad is a hilly area. It is very difficult to get an ambulance which can take the patients from their home to the hospitals. A solution was needed to deal with this. This was the inspiration behind the COVID-19 mobile van.”
Innovation driven by compassion
If he had not become an engineer, M M would have become a politician. He believes that politicians have immense power to make society-level changes. As a centerpiece of his philosophy, he said, “Society is lacking empathy. Everyone is working for success but success alone is not enough for a prosperous world. We need an empathetic society.”