COVID-19 NAF unveils locally-produced emergency ventilators
In line with its drive to provide indigenous solutions to tackle the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has unveiled 2 emergency ventilators produced by a Team of Researchers from the Air Force Research and Development Centre (AFRDC) and Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Kaduna, in partnership with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria.
The emergency ventilators, tagged ‘NAF E-Vents’, were unveiled yesterday, by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in Kaduna.
Before the unveiling ceremony, the prototype E-Vents had been subjected to successful animal testing using both canine and porcine test subjects.
The objective of animal testing was to demonstrate the capacity of the Ventilators to support the recovery of patients with respiratory diseases, including Acute Lung Injury and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
The tests were also necessary to validate the effectiveness of the ‘Assist Ventilation Mode’, where the ventilator detects a breath from a patient being treated and synchronizes the equipment with the patient’s breathing.
The NAF E-Vents, which are intended for use when conventional invasive respiratory support resources have been exhausted, were found to deliver very satisfactory performance in air volume control and assist control modes and are now ready for human testing and further certification by relevant agencies.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony, the CAS, who was represented by the NAF Chief of Standards and Evaluation (COSE), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Remigius Ekeh, stated that the devastating effects of the COVID-19 require that ingenious and proactive steps be taken in order to protect lives and avert any form of national tragedy.
He noted that the NAF had continued to vigorously pursue a robust and result-oriented Research and Development (R&D) policy with an emphasis on the provision of indigenous technological solutions. In this regard, he said, the NAF had engaged in strategic partnerships with some Ministries, Departments and Agencies so as to reduce dependence on other nations.
“Our modest efforts have yielded results and positively impacted our operations”, the CAS added.
The CAS stated that in the quest to contribute towards self-reliance in the battle against COVID-19, a team, comprising NAF personnel and researchers from partner institutions, was convened to research into the production of the emergency ventilators.
He noted that the team commenced work in early April 2020 and within 3 weeks had developed 2 prototypes.
According to him, “having seen the progress made, it became necessary for the prototypes to undergo animal testing to ascertain their capacity for use on patients with respiratory illness.
Accordingly, the NAF partnered with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, ABU to test the effectiveness of the Ventilators using a dog and a pig as test subjects. I am glad to note that the tests were successfully completed and the equipment is now ready for human testing and certification by relevant agencies”. He, however, emphasized that private sector investment would be required for mass production of the ventilators.
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