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Laikipia County partners with Dedan Kimathi University to make ventilators

NYERI, Kenya, May 4 – A Ventilator being developed by the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in partnership with the County Government of Laikipia could hit the market in the next few days.

The two institutions have invited the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Kenya Poisons and Pharmacy Board, Kenyatta National Hospital, and the biomedical equipment unit of the Ministry of Health to inspect the ventilator prototype at the university’s Nyeri Campus.

“We had to agree on basic standards for ventilators with these institutions on Monday,” a source privy to the development said.

A ventilator is a machine that helps a patient to breathe by pumping oxygen into the lungs and removes carbon dioxide through intubation- insertion of a tube into a person’s windpipe.

The machines are in high demand across the world following the outbreak of the highly infectious Covid-19 which attacks the respiratory system. 

Many health facilities lack the capacity to handle patients in need of critical care.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ndirangu Kioni said local production of ventilators will enhance the survival chances of patients in critical condition.

“Many lives will be saved as our ventilators will expand the range of support for local health facilities,” Prof Kioni said.

The county government of Laikipia has already placed an order of ten machines once they get the approval from the relevant agencies, for its Nyahururu and Nanyuki hospitals.

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According to Laikipia Health executive committee member, Dr. Lenai Kamario the  prototypes are about 70 percent complete with what is remaining being controls and alarms which are expect to be ready in the next few days.

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“There is a huge difference between a ventilator and respirators that most people seem to be branding as ventilators. Although the two help a patient in breathing, ventilators are way much advanced,” he said.

According Dr Lenai a respirator is a masklike device that help in filtering out virus particles as one breathes in so they don’t get infected. 

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