Kufema Zimbabwe is a citizen-led, non-profit collaboration established in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by the Shona word for “breathe“, Kufema’s mission is to save lives by building and distributing Africa-friendly open source breathing equipment (such as ventilators and CPAPs). Every breathing machine created has the potential to save lives during COVID-19 and beyond.

Kufema Zimbabwe is an active member of the COVID-19 Citizens Response roundtable, the National COVID Case Management Committee, and is working in partnership with other coordinating mechanisms to ensure efficient and effective use of resources in the joint national response. Kufema has a unique, open, online collaborative workspace, used by 650 individuals working in the broad response across Zimbabwe. 

Kufema remains agile in its response to emerging priorities as COVID-19 evolves and its impact on Zimbabwe becomes known. While our specific focus may adapt to meet those needs, Kufema is firmly committed to saving lives through helping people to breathe.

Our Story

From a WhatsApp message to an international movement, Kufema Zimbabwe is a non-profit collaboration founded by Juliet Le Breton and Tim Masson to join the citizen-led and business-led response to COVID-19. Like most nations, Zimbabwe found itself unprepared for the rapid transmission and severity of COVID-19. Prevailing economic challenges, limited and outdated infrastructure and a lack of immediate access to healthcare resources exacerbates the country’s vulnerability in light of a pandemic.

Established in March 2020 and inspired by the Shona word for “breathe“, Kufema’s mission is to develop, build, distribute & provide information on Africa-friendly, off-the-shelf ventilators & assisted breathing equipment for Zimbabwe.

Open Source Ventilator

The focus of the team of engineers, designers and medical practitioners is building an Open Source Ventilator as a stopgap solution to the global shortage of medical ventilators resulting from the spread of COVID-19. Its development is made possible through open source platforms allowing team members to make real time contributions from any place in the world. The device itself is designed using widely available materials and constructed via simple fabrication processes. Electrical components and software will also be developed to allow basic parameters and controls to be set by clinicians.

The Solution

Open Source Ventilator – an in progress open source, low resource, quick deployment ventilator design that utilizes a bag valve mask (BMV or Ambu-bag) as a core component. An open collaboration between

Zimbabweans on the ground, Zimbabweans abroad and the people from all over the world.

The Team