…Decries lack of Funding for Research
…Says TETFUND only cares for University Research
By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
The Kaduna Polytechnic, KADPOLY, has locally developed technologies that can support a sustainable action against COVID-19.
Rector of the Kadpoly, Prof. Idris Bugaje, said at a news conference on Thursday, that Covid-19 Pandemic had exposed Nigeria’s many shortcomings in terms of preparedness, medications and equipment in the fight against this novel virus.
He said to address these challenges, many Institutions of Higher Learning, especially Polytechnics and Universities, have made some contributions in design and local development of Respirators, Manual and Automated Hand Washing Machines, Ethanol-Based Sanitizers Production, Herbal Remedies Against Covid-19, etc.
According to him, “Kaduna Polytechnic Management equally decided to set up a ‘Technology Response Team to COVID-19’ domiciled at the Centre for Technology Development (CTD) of the Polytechnic to address the technological gaps in the responses to Covid-19 in Nigeria.”
“The Team has come up, at the moment, with two key interventions that will ensure sustainability of the nation’s response to the pandemic. These are: 1. Design and Development of Plant for the Production of Medical Oxygen from Air. This could supply medical oxygen promptly and sustainably to all the respirators being operated in our hospitals in Nigeria, which at present relays on imports. The cost estimate covering up to Plant Commissioning is N50 Million.’
“Design and Development of Plant for the Production of Sodium Hypochlorite from Table Salt. This shall produce sodium hypochlorite, which is the key fumigant for environmental sanitization in the fight against COVID-19 as against the present import of concentrates that are diluted and sold in the Nigerian market. The cost estimate covering up to Plant Commissioning is N64 Million.”
He said these two Chemical Plants were designed by their Nigerian Engineers, staff of Kaduna Polytechnic.
This he said, would be the first time Nigeria was designing and building its own production plants for these Chemicals.
” Even after the Pandemic is over, these products shall be needed by other end users in the nation’s economy such as Petroleum and Petrochemical Plants, metal fabrication factories, water treatment plants, domestic fumigations, etc.”
“With the very limited budgets of the Polytechnic, which cannot handle the realization of these projects, we seek for interventions from well-meaning Nigerians to actualize these important plants, to save Nigeria foreign exchange in their imports and ensure we are prepared to frontally address such medical and other emergencies now and in the future. The public and private sectors are invited to join hands with Kaduna Polytechnic in realizing these important technological milestones.”
“We are aware that the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund) intends to support six (6)Medical Simulation Facilities and twelve (12) ‘Centres of Excellence’ in Universities across Nigeria in 2020 to address Research and Development on Covid-19.
Unfortunately not a single Polytechnic was included in this intervention. This, in spite of the fact that in the past several decades of research interventions from TETFund, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) and other agencies, the 170 Universities in Nigeria are yet to develop a single technology that Nigeria is using today. We must therefore start to develop confidence in our Polytechnics when it comes to innovations in technology. Research without
Development will end up as Journal papers in library shelves only.” ” Polytechnics are well positioned to carry out the DEVELOPMENT and move research carried out in laboratories into production plants to impact the health care system and the economy generally.
Again Nigeria cannot wait to get these two important products, medical oxygen and sodium hypochlorite, that could be produced locally by the Polytechnic sector and using simple and easily available raw materials, air and table salt, in the fight against the current pandemic,” he said.