Understanding the EATEST device - 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 layman’s terms, “to collect your blood which are either flowing away or gathered in your stomach for purification and transfusion back to you.”

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 patient’s 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 UNDP’s 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 produced.

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 year’s 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 he 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 advantages.

Renowned Scientists for EAT-SET Workshop

An international workshop aimed at putting Nigeria in the league of biomedical research and manufacturing nations will hold in Abuja on August 15 and 16, 2002.

Top scientists from Europe, USA, India, South Korea and Nigeria will collaborate with the EAT-SET project in an extensive scientific seminar and workshop slated for the Sheraton Hotel & Towers.

Nigeria Army doctor, Colonel Oviemo Ovadje, inventor of the EATSET blood transfusion device has continued to pursue a programme of transfer of medical technology to Nigeria with the support of the Federal Government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

President Olusegun Obasanjo is expected to declare the seminar open as special guest of honour at the occasion, which will feature the formal launching of the EAT-SET Auto Transfusion Device.

Also billed to attend the seminar/workshop are eminent industrialists from, India and South Korea including Sagae Precision Medi-Hut Industries, Jinhwa of South Korea; Hyderabad Dies and Moulds and MRK Healthcare Industries of India. These companies separately working with the EATSET project of Nigeria on a south-south collaborative arrangement to assist Nigeria in acquiring the know-how for medical manufacturing in the drive to boost the productive base of the Nigerian economy.

Key lectures are to be delivered by Prof F. Nicholas Jacobs (FACHE), the President and CEO of Windber Medical Centre and Research Institutes of the United States of America, Prof. Mbaya Kankwenda UNDP’s representative in Nigeria and Prof Ibironke Akinsete, Presidential Adviser on HIV-AIDS will talk on “Issues of Biomedical Research” and “Sustainable Development and the Quest for Safe Blood Transfusion and HIV Control in Africa” respectively, among others Nigerian scientists expected at the seminar include Prof. Osato Giwa Osagie of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Martins Aghaji, College of Medicine, UNTH – Enugu, Prof. F. Okonofua, Dean College of Medicine, University of Benin, Brig Gen. Edowande, Director General Defence Industries, Brig. Gen. (Dr.) S.O Njoku. Others are Dr. I Nnadi, of the Scientific Equipment Development Institute, Dr. Obiaga Director-General, NASENI.

EAT-SET saves 84 lives

The EATSET clinical trials just concluded in Nigeria have saved 84 (eighty-four) women whose lives were threatened following massive intra-peritoneal bleeding from acute rupture of the fallopian tube as a result of ectopic pregnancies. The studies were a follow up of the successful Alpha trials which took place at the Department of Experimental Medicine of the University of Geneva in 1996.

The trials were carried out at the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, the General Hospital (Ayinke House),and at the Military Hospitals in Lagos and Kaduna

The trials were coordinated and collated/analysed by Dr. Ayemoba of the Department of Haematology of the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital between 1999 and 2001 Dr. Oviemo Ovadje was the principal investigator.

Results of the trials will be discussed at the International Conference for Military Medicine (ICMM) at the Sun City in South Africa in September 2002.


Top world rated scientist from Europe, USA, India, South Korea and Nigeria will collaborate with the EATSET project in organizing an extensive and far reaching scientific seminar and workshop in Abuja, Nigeria that will provide the fulcrum for delivering Nigeria into the Biomedical research and technological psyche of the new age. The EATSET workshop scheduled for August 2002 will also attract eminent industrialists from, India and South Korea amongst whom are Sagae Precision, , Medi-Hut Industries, Jinhwa of South Korea; Hyderabad Dies and Moulds and MRK Healthcare Industries of India. These companies are individually working with the EATSET project of Nigeria on a south-south collaborative arrangement to assist Nigeria in acquiring the know-how for medical manufacturing in the drive towards boosting the productive aspects of the Nigerian economy through increased productivity. Colonel Ovadje, inventor of the EATSET has continued to pursue a program of transfer of medical technology to Nigeria with the support of the Nigerian Army. The Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Alexander Ogomudia, had earlier given a promise of total support to issues of professional excellence arising from activities of officers and men of the Nigerian Army.

Key lectures are to be delivered by Prof F. Nicholas Jacobs (FACHE), the President and CEO of Windber Medical Centre and Research Institutes of the United States of America, Prof. Mbaya Kankwenda of the UNDP and Prof Ibironke Akinsete, chairman, NACA on issues of biomedical research,; Sustainable Development and the quest for Safe Blood Transfusion and HIV control in Africa respectively.

Other visiting guest lecturers are Dr. Richard Somiari, Associate Professor, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Dr. Tzoren Aydin, Bioinformatics Director Drexel University Philadelphia & Director Whitaker Foundations, USA. Others are Dr. Sonny Ohia, Assoc. Dean, School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences, Creighton University, Omaha. N.E. USA and Professor Michael Liebman, Director, computational Biology, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute & Professor of Cancer Biology, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Centre, Philadelphia, USA;

All top experts will discuss the place of biomedical research and bioinformatics in solving health problems of Africa and developing countries.

Other eminent scientists expected at the seminar are, Prof. Osato Giwa Osagie of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Martins Aghaji, College of Medicine, UNTH – Enugu, Prof. F. Okonofua, Dean College of Medicine, Uniben, Brig Gen. Edowande, Director General Defence Industries, Brig. Gen. (Dr.) S.O Njoku and Col. (Dr.) OO Ovadje, both of the Nigerian Army Medical Service. Others are Dr. I Nnadi, of the Scientific Equipment Development Institute, Dr. Obiaga DG. NASENI and Dr. Okongwu DG NOTAP all of whom are committed to the industrial and technological development of Nigeria.

President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR , President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria whose government has continued to promote a culture of development and productivity in academics and industries is proposed to declare the seminar/ workshop open as special guest of honour. Prof A Nwosu, Hon Minister of Health and Prof. Mbaya Kankwenda of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will co-chair the occasion. Dr. Yumkella of UNIDO and Chief Kola Daisi are proposed to be special Guests of honour during the business meetings between the foreign companies and the industrial sessions of the seminar respectively. The Honourable Minister for Science and Technology will declare the workshop closed on the 10th of August.

It is also expected that officials of the World Health Organisation, World Intellectual Property Organisation and ARCO Petrochemicals and members of the diplomatic community will grace the occasion which will hold at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, FCT in early August. This occasion will witness the full and successful commercialization and launching of the EATSET Blood Transfusion device.

Using IP to attract Investors- the EAT-SET Project

The concept of the Emergency Autotransfution Set (EAT-SET) is one example of how strong intellectual property protection can play an important role in attracting financing.

The EAT-SET is the result of the inventive work of Brigadier General Dr. Oviemo Ovadje, of Military Hospital Ikoyi Lagos. The invention aims at facilitating the recovery of blood out of the body cavity during operations and re-infusing it back into the patient body after filtration. Brigadier General Dr. Ovadje started the EAT-SET project in 1989 with a meager sum of eighteen thousands Naira which was approximately one hundred and twenty USD. With the support of the Nigerian government which provided the necessary environment for research, the project was able to attract the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which provided financial resources for research, development and testing of the project. The World Health Organization (WHO) participated as the executing agency.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) have also recognized the invention of Brigadier General Dr. Ovadje. In 1995 he was declared the best African Scientist and was awarded the 1995 WIPO/OAU gold medal for scientific work designed to save women who usually die from abnormal pregnancy (Ectopic Gestation).

With the help of UNDP Dr. Ovadje acquired patent protection for his invention. Currently the EAT-SET device has been protected by patents in nine foreign countries. Dr. Ovadje also acquired trademark protection for EATSET in nine other countries.

EAT-SET Industries was established in April 2001. The main objective of establishing the company was to facilitate the commercialization of the EAT-SET medical device. Though in its ‘infancy’ stage, the company has already attracted several investors both public and private and the investments made so far have grown from approximately one hundred and twenty USD in 1989 to almost one hundred thousand USD. Dr. Ovadje believes that the patents and trademarks held by EAT-SET Industries have played a key role in enhancing the confidence of the investors. According to Dr. Ovadje investors are willing to put in about one million USD in the company. Currently, the EAT-SET industries is focusing on designing appropriate medical tools for developing countries which have less capabilities of acquiring costly sophisticated technologies.


Dr. Oviemu Otu Ovadje, a Nigerian, was among outstanding individuals and institutions who were recognized for their contributions in the field of health and development at the Fifty- third session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization. The awards were presented at a special ceremony in May.

Dr. Ovadje was one of those who received the Sasakawa Health Prize awarded for exceptional achievements. The award was for his invention of an Emergency Auto-Transfusion Set (EATSET), which is  a very simple blood-saving device, which efficiently replaces the gauze filtration technique used in developing countries. The device is an excellent example of appropriate technology relevant to the needs of developing countries.

Successful  clinical  trials  in  1999  confirmed  its  efficacy  for patients with ruptured ectopic pregnancies and life-threatening intraperitoneal bleeding. Dr. Ovadje said he would use the prize money to increase the scope of current clinical trials and to conduct parallel studies in hospitals in India, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Other winners of the Sasakawa Health Prize were Dr. Yoav Horn of Israel for his work in the field of cancer research and treatment and care of cancer patients in Israel and in the West Bank as well as the Family Planning Association (PLAFAM) of Venezuela which has been working to promote family planning and  to  improve  sexual  and  reproductive  health  particularly among the poor in Venezuela.

During the ceremony, the United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize was awarded jointly to Dr. Roemwerdiniadi Soedoko of Indonesia and the Institute of Nursing in Myanmar. The Dr. A. T. Shousha Foundation Prize was awarded to Dr. Seyed Alizera Marandi from the Islamic Republic of Iran while the Jacques Parisot Foundation Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Laura Papantoniou from Cyprus.


In English-speaking Africa, an estimated 3-4 million blind and 10-12 million visually impaired people will benefit from “VISION 2020: the Right to Sight” – a worldwide initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. More than 60% of them suffer from cataracts.

Major efforts, coordinated nationally, regionally and internationally, will be made to restore eyesight in these people while preventing many others from becoming blind, said WHO and  a  group  of  international  non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs) at the VISION 2020 sub-regional launch in Johannesburg in April.

To achieve these objectives, the VISION 2020 group, in close cooperation with African health authorities, will work to increase the number of adequately trained national eye-care personnel; ease access to ophthalmologic services for populations in low income brackets, particularly in rural areas; facilitate the transfer of appropriate sight-saving technologies to African countries; as well as develop and implement cost-effective national strategies for  blindness  prevention.  In  its  initial  stage,  the  emphasis in VISION   2020 will   be   placed   on   awareness-raising  and resource mobilization.


 The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Ebrahim Samba has reiterated the importance of adequate financing for health systems and called on African Heads of State to redeem their pledge to allocate at least 15 per cent of their national budgets to the health sector.

Speaking  in  Harare  at  the  end  of  a  Regional  consultative meeting on health system performance assessment, Dr. Samba urged countries to strive to create conditions conducive to the strengthening of their health systems by the judicious management of resources especially finances, and also by ensuring that health sector workers were motivated.

“Health systems are the vehicles through which health problems such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are resolved . . . it is therefore important that countries have strong health systems as this would enable them to more effectively handle these and other diseases”, he added.

Army Doctor on Technology Transfer Mission

Colonel Oviemo Ovadje, Nigeria’s renowned Military Medical Doctor and inventor, has left the country on a mission to fulfil his desire to see Nigeria acquire the know-how for medical manufacturing.

Sources close to the army colonel indicated at the weekend that the first leg of the tour was taking him to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique, all African countries that had since acquired capabilities for medical manufacturing.

The industrial and trade mission, it was understood, would assist the army doctor to further understand modalities for technology from what obtains in Europe, America and the Asian Tigers.

Added to that, it is believed that the Colonel would use the opportunity to introduce his EATSET invention, a blood safety initiative, to the Southern African countries envisaged to possibly provide potential markets for the equipment because of the high level of AIDS and HIV infection in those countries.

From the Southern African countries, Ovadje is expected to proceed to Bombay and Hyderabad, India, also a potential beneficiary of the EATSET, realising her large population and medical climate of a developing country. He would in addition, seal up agreements with his international research collaborators and dispensers of technology in India before leaving for the United States (US) for consultations with the Emergency Care Research Institute, Plymouth Meeting.

The Colonel, who had always argued that Nigeria has no option but to acquire appropriate medical manufacturing know-how if it is to run an efficient health care system, maintained in an interview with Newsline in London recently that Nigeria has the capacity to break the technological myth of the advanced world because of its abundant human and material resources.

According to him, 55-75 percent of component parts used in industries, health and educational equipment were plastic and rubber based with which Nigeria is abundantly blessed. Recently in Indonesia for the G-15 exhibition in Jakarta, Ovadje is promoting the EATSET invention worldwide. Lectures on the equipment have been given in 35 locations worldwide while its patents and trademarks have been registered in nine countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the Dr. (Col.) Ovadje’s efforts a Nigeria’s major contribution to its global blood safety initiative in May 2000 at the United Nation (UN) Hall Palais de Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, to become the first African winner of the Sasakawa Award. President Olusegun Obasanjo, many other notable Nigerians and organisations such as Arco Petrochemicals and Platinum Bank have also identified with the noble objectives of the /colonel.

The EATSET device was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) while WHO acted as executing agency.

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