The Nigerian military says it has successfully produced a ventilator using local content and has begun mass production of Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and more units of ventilators to cushion its shortage in the country and boost the fight against the deadly COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
John Enenche, Director, Defence Media Operation (DMO) who disclosed this on Monday said the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) got approval from the Federal Government and has consequently produced thousands of high-quality non-permeable PPE kits. Each unit of the kits consists of standardized gowns, face shield and nose masks to be sold at affordable rates.
He said the PPEs are currently being produced in large quantities for use by Kaduna State Government and other national stakeholders.
Enenche disclosed further that DICON engineers, consultants and medical teams have successfully produced a digital mechanical ventilator known as DICOVENT.
According to him, the newly designed low-cost machine is a simple mechanical ventilator that can deliver positive pressured ventilation using a volume-controlled ventilation (VCV) system.
“The ventilator has undergone thorough scrutiny and assessment by specialists from top ranging hospitals and experts in the country including Cedar Crest Hospital Abuja, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Kaduna, amongst others.
The coordinator, however, noted that while the DICOVENT may not be able to meet the high demands of critical patients, it can be used for Continuous Mandatory Ventilation (CMV) and Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilation ( IPPV).
“It can also be used for invasive ventilation and non-invasive ventilation using an endotracheal tube and mask respectively,” he added.
He added that with request of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, DICON produced over 1500 dozens of DICSanz, a high-quality hand sanitizer for supply to troops of the Nigerian Army. He said the product is at the last stage of NAFDAC registration in line with extant due diligence provisions.
“The efforts of DICON in producing these array of COVID-19 equipment has been assessed, commended and approved by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, and Permanent Secretary, General Service Office (GSO) Olusegun Adekunle,” he said.
Victor Ezugwu, head DICON assured that the industry has the capacity to produce thousands of these PPEs within a short period and at least 100 ventilators in a month.
Ezugwu added that the industry is not entirely profit oriented, hence the essential and life-saving equipment can be acquired at affordable rates. He said the PPE kit costs N8,000 and hand sanitisers go for as low as N400.
He disclosed that DICON will consider exporting the products after adequately satisfying national demand.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gabriel Olonisakin therefore urged Federal and State Governments to patronise the local content initiative of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
The CDS also urged the general public to practise the rules of social distancing and personal hygiene in line with the advice of the PTF on COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health, and health professionals.