The University of Zambia has launched the first ever locally developed Mechanical Ventilator Prototype called the UNZA Ventilator.
UNZA Ventilator Project Team Leader Professor Levy Siaminwe said the Ventilator Project was initiated as UNZA’s contribution to the country’s COVID-19 response plan.
This design will assist the anticipated shortage of ventilators in the country as it uses a mechanism to automatically actuate a manual resuscitator (ABU BAG),Prof. Siaminwe.
Prof. Siaminwe added that the ventilator can be used in an emergency and during patient transportation between and within health facilities.
We have planned for further development so that the ventilator can be used on sedated or paralyzed patients to address future emergencies,Prof. Siaminwe.
Meanwhile, in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry of Higher Education Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame, Higher Education Minister Brian Mushimba said the ministry is working with the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) and the Zambia Private Sector Alliance (ZPSA) to ensure that public institutions partner and provide what is required in research and knowledge to further the ‘Proudly Zambian Campaign.’
Mr. Mushimba has since commended UNZA for the commitment shown in developing the medical ventilator.
This development has demonstrated that it is possible to find solutions to many of our challenges within our very own boarder,Mr. Mushimba.
I highly commend these efforts and collaborations. I’m very hopeful that the launch of this ventilator is only the beginning of the added financial and technical support towards fighting this pandemic.
And, speaking at the same event in a speech read on his behalf by Ministry of Health National Coordinator of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kennedy Malama said the Ventilator has come at a complimentary time when government has called for initiatives that will assist, improve treatment and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
With enough of such committed support demonstrated by the National Technology and Business Centre (NTBC), Zambia Breweries, Lafarge Zambia and the University of Zambia through the School of Engineering, it should be in everyone’s prayer that an end to the pandemic is soon,Dr. Malama.
Further, Zambian Breweries Lusaka Plant Manager Albert Malunga described the creation of the prototype as a huge milestone in the country’s pursuit of self-reliance in the industrialization agenda and medical engineering.
Mr. Mulanga added that having locally produced respirators in COVID-19 treatment would make them readily available and cheaper compared to imported models.
As a company that supports innovation among the youth, Zambian Breweries is proud to have partnered with Lafarge Zambia and the University of Zambia in making this dream a reality,Mr. Mulanga.
I am hopeful that this will inspire other engineers to come up with innovations that will drive growth in the local manufacturing sector. It is only through a diversified economy that we can achieve the development targets outlined in vision 2030 and the 7th National Development Plan.
And, Lafarge Chilanga Plant Production Manager Jonas Kaonga said the launch has shown the power in honing and developing local talents for the benefit of the nation.
He has called on other players to be proud of the project and support government and higher institutions of learning to develop local solutions to local problems.
Zambian Breweries has also partnered with the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company to ensure constant water supply in townships such as George Compound to help maintain sanitation standards.