NYERI, Kenya, May 2 – A ventilator being developed by Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in partnership with the County Government of Laikipia is set to undergo certification in coming weeks before the equipment is availed in hospitals to support the fight against COVID-19.
The two institutions have invited the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Kenya Poisons and Pharmacy Board, Kenyatta National Hospital and health minitry’s Biomedical Equipment Unit 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 because as we speak the country has none,” a source privy to the development told Capital FM News on Saturday.
A ventilator is machine that helps a patient to breathe by pumping oxygen into the lungs and removing 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.
DEKUT 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.
Laikipia Health Executive Committee Member Dr. Lenai Kamario said the prototypes are about 70 per cent complete. Remaining aspects include controls and alarms which are expected to be ready in the next few days.
“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.
Dr Kamario noted that a respirator is a masklike device that helps in filtering out virus particles as one breathes in, so they don’t get infected.