Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Ghana, one of the most mentioned requirements recommended by the Ghana Health Service for hand sanitation is the Veronica Bucket.
This simple bucket with a spigot at the bottom to enable the washing of hands under running water was invented by Mrs Veronica Bekoe, a biological scientist who worked at the Public Health and Reference Laboratory of the Ghana Health Service from 1972 to 2008.
The invention consists of a wooden stand which holds the bucket, towel and soap, and a washbasin placed below the spigot to collect the running water. It is usually used at hospitals and schools to encourage handwashing but now, it is spotted in front of businesses, malls and public institutions as part of the fight against coronavirus.
Who is Veronica Bekoe?
Veronica Bekoe attended the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology between 1968 to 1972 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology (Hons) in Biology/Biological Sciences. Until 2008, she worked at the National Public Reference Laboratory where she became its head and the Laboratory focal person for the National AIDS/STI Control Program (NACP).
It was during her time at the laboratory that she was inspired to invent the Veronica Bucket which has significantly improved hand-sanitation and general hygienic practices thereby helping reduce diarrhoea cases in Ghana and other African countries.
Mrs Bekoe’s left the National Public Reference Laboratory and started working with the National AIDS Control Programme as the Focal Point for guidelines for Quality Assurance in HIV testing, evaluation of HIV test kits and structuring, training and implementation of proficiency testing in HIV serology.
She is also a member of the board of NGO, Centre for Health System Strengthening (CfHSS).
Mrs Veronica Bekoe has been honoured by many institutions including the Ghana Health Service. In 2019, she was among seven other women to be honoured by the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, to climax the celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD).
She was awarded for Social Innovation for “her singular invention of the breakthrough Veronica Bucket, which when used with soap has proven to be a lifesaver for so many people around the world who do not have access to clean running water.”