…Can produce 300 weekly
…May send to other African countries in need
By Ebele Orakpo
Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. The Covid-19 pandemic is not all gloom and doom. In the midst of the tears, fears and uncertainties come some hope.
When most of the developed world is reeling under the shortage of life-saving ventilators needed desperately to treat Covid-19 patients, a team of professionals in came up with a prototype of the much needed ventilator in just one week.
By the way, a ventilator is a machine that helps a patient who is unable to breathe due to illness, to breathe and stay alive while treatment goes on. Describing the effect of the coronavirus on the lungs, one patient in the US said as the virus attacks the lungs, the usually spongy tissue feels like crystals or glass so the patient finds it almost impossible to breathe on his own, hence the need for ventilators.
In a chat with Vanguard, the team leader, Mr. Tunde Okoya, the Managing Director of Lange and Grant Commodities Limited, said they were motivated to go into the project as a result of the call by the Presidential Committee on Covid-19 which challenged manufacturers to find a solution to the shortage of ventilators.
“So we put together a technical committee and the result is what we see today. We studied and captured heat values using our thermo-graphic camera. Values recorded are great and there hasn’t been any thermal runaway,” said Okoya.
On how they were able to achieve such a feat in a very short time, Okoya said: “We have a solid team of combined experience in manufacturing that is over a century. Our motivation was to save lives and not financial. When we read that the estimated and projected shortfall in the number of ventilators required will be in thousands, we immediately got to work.
“And as you know, every country is focused on helping and saving the lives of its own citizens; and no one has time to help another country now,” he said.
In the light of that, we were challenged to find a robust solution. The beauty is we have great human intellectual capacity and world class engineers such as Mr. Wenike David Oruwariye, Dr Henry Boyo, Mr. Yehuda Mesika and Engr. Kola Ogunsanya.
“With this team and the help of the Vice-President, Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria, MAN, Lagos Zone, Mr John Aluya, we have come up with this solution today. In fact, it has surpassed our expectations in performance,” said an excited Okoya.
On how long it will take to mass produce the ventilators and deploy them, he said: “The beauty of manufacturing is that it is usually the least of the problem once you have your design and prototype sorted out. The mass production is usually in lockstep; it’s usually a natural progression. We may be able to make 300 ventilators a week. Hopefully we can send to other African countries that are in need or may require them.
“This is the role Nigeria is expected to play both in leadership, technology, and manufacturing. A big brother not only in words but also in its actions and deeds. We are happy we can make the country proud through this product development and innovation,” he said.