Coronavirus Updates

May 5, 2020

We need Nigeria-made ventilators, PPE, others — NSE Chairman

We need Nigeria-made ventilators, PPE, others — NSE Chairman

DICOVENT, the DICON-made ventilator with oxygen cylinder.

By Elizabeth Osayande

The Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, Apapa branch, Engr. Sunny Ejeje, has called for the support of massive production of locally-made ventilators, sanitisers and Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, to assist in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Reacting to a mechanical ventilator made by a former chairman of the NSE branch, Engr. Ibrahim Aledu, to reduce the reliance of Nigerian government on foreign ventilators, Engr. Ejeje noted that “it was high time we looked inwards and support indigenous innovators with research grants.”

According to him, “I feel elated about the inventing of a ventilator by one of our own, a former chairman of NSE, Apapa.

“And being the current chairman, who was involved from the beginning of the production, I feel this is an honour to him and to us as a body.

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“We and the current chairman of NSE, Ikeja branch, Engr Funmi Akingbagbohun, gave him all the moral support. However, he used his personal funds to do the project.”

“Also, there is need for government to bring together all Nigerians coming out with one thing or the other for the fight against COVID-19 together.

“Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, did something;  University of Benin did something too, among others.

“Just like Madagascar did by supporting a particular research on COVID-19 antiviral drug which they are now selling and the world is buying, so also we need Nigerian-made ventilators, sanitisers, contaminator machines among others.

“For this to happen, the government and other relevant authorities should invite these inventors, put them on observation to see what they come out with through synergy within a particular time frame. And this should go with provision of research grants.

“While I also believe our national chairman is aware of Engr. Aledu’s invention and to take up with key stakeholders on it, there is the need for engineers to connect, develop ideas and synergise on different ways to support in the fight against COVID-19.”

Speaking on his innovation, Engr. Aledu stated that it took a personal conviction that Nigerians are capable of producing ventilators and others resources to control the spread of COVID-19.

He added that with the moral support of Engr. Sunny Ejeje and Engr Funmi Akingbagbohun, he was able to come up with his innovation.

According to the former chairman, NSE Apapa branch, “I have been a keen follower of international affairs; the Chinese, European and now American experience of the COVID-19 pandemic had kept my mind pacing— what would happen when this disease reaches our shores?

“I then read about the virus itself (coupled with what I gained from the electronic media) and I said to myself I can fabricate a ventilator locally.

“Since the downturn of oil prices, the nation’s economic outlook had become dire.

“An average ventilator costs $30,000. And as reported by National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, we had just about 450 ventilators nationwide.

“It took me two weeks during the lockdown to design this ventilator with virtually 80 percent of local materials. The manual incorporation made my work novel, as no one has done it like this before.

“What pleases me most is this mechanical ventilator will cost less than $300. So $30,000 can purchase 100 units of this compared to one unit of imported ones.

“And it can work universally for infants, children and adults because I incorporated a bag volume adjusting mechanism. Also we can regulate the frequency rate of producing this inhalation.”