Understanding the EATEST
- Stories by Ikenna Emeka Okpani
It is no longer news that most families have lost very dear ones to road accidents and
sometimes pregnancy complications, where doctors often say such people lost their lives to
excessive bleeding or loss of blood.
It is also on record, that a great percentage of people that acquired the
immune-deficiency virus really did so through blood transfusions. Some others have also
contracted blood born diseases like hepatitis and others. Even when such blood is tested
before transfusion, some later develop viruses that were absent abinitio, as explained by
a medical expert.
"One may carry the HIV virus, but it may not manifest positively in tests probably
because the virus has not really manifested in his blood, and may be at developmental
stage which takes four to six months to really show," he said.
According to him, a test for HIV would only be said to be negative after a confirmatory
test six months after. But this is not the topic of this article though it has great
relations with the EATSET devise.
The EATEST simply means Emergency Antilogous Transfusion Set. It is an equipment which
enables the doctor in laymans terms, "to collect your blood which are either
flowing away or gathered in your stomach for purification and transfusion back to
It was developed by a Nigerian Army officer, Brigadier General Dr. Oviemo Ovadje, and has been judged by
Medical Communities at home and abroad to be a very useful tool in the management of
patients who hitherto died from internal bleeding such as ruptured entopic pregnancies,
road traffic accidents and aneurysmal ruptures, according to WHO reports of Geneva trials
of the device carried out 1996.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland,
recognised the equipment as a major contribution to global blood safety as it encourages
the use of a patients own blood when the need arsies.
The emergency antilogous transfusion device was designed to assist doctors from developing
countries particularly surgeons, anaesthesiologists, gynaecologists and obstetricians to
promote safe blood transfusions practice in the face of current threats by blood borne
diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
The device is the result of the EATSET project sponsored by the United Nations Development
Programme as part of UNDPs support for social and sustainable development in
Nigeria. The project was executed by the WHO from 1994-1996 on the recommendation of Prof.
Watson Williams, WHO consultant for blood safety.
The first workshop and seminar took place on May 29 to 31, 1995 at the Sheraton Hotel,
Lagos and was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme.
The seminar was designed to educate the general public about the advantages of
autotransfusion and to discuss the potential for introducing a simple and affordable
device, the EATEST for medical practice in developing countries.
The seminar was unanimous in its support for the need to further refine the EATEST device
and to promote safe blood transfusion practice in Nigeria. The UNDP through WHO, sponsored
the refinement of the device with Engineer. Claude Fell, President of BIOSAFE, Switzerland
as international consultant and Prof. Asalor of the Department of Engineering, University
Benin and Dr. Nnadi, CEO of Scientific Equipment Development Institute, Enugu as National
Consultants. The device was subjected to Alpha and Beta clinical trials between 1996 and
1999 in Switzerland and in Nigeria.
At the formal launching of the equipment in Abuja last week, the Minister of Health, Prof.
Alphonsus Nwosu, said he would meet with all the medical directors of all the 52 hospitals
under his ministry, to enable them decide on the number needed in their hospitals,
"so that it would be included in the 2003 budget."
A unit of the device which was produced in South Korea cost N3,000.
However, Daily Trust gathered that it will cost only N800 if produced in Nigeria. The
inventor, Brigadier General Dr. Oviemo Ovadje, told Daily Trust that about 10,000 of the equipment have been
He also revealed that he had spent close to $300,000 on the project since he started.
Apart from support from international organisations, Brigadier General Dr. Oviemo Ovadje said he had ploughed back
monetary awards from awards won by the equipment.
The project won the World Bank Institute Certificate Award this year.
"The project has always fulfilled its counterpart funding obligations through its
research funds made possible by its numerous international monetary awards," he said.
Other awards so far won, apart from this years World Bank Institute Certificate
awards, include World Health Organisation Sasakawa award, Switzerland 2003; the
World Intellectual Property Organisation Gold Award, 1995; the Best African Inventor Award
of the OAU, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1995 and the ARCO Excellence in Science and Technology
Gold Award 2001 in London.
The device already has a website where people could get information concerning its use and