A functional, low-cost ready for use medical ventilator called BULAMU (life) has been produced locally.
“This is a locally manufactured medical ventilator which upon final approvals will be available to support life in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). While it started as a Covid-19 initiative, its application goes beyond Covid-19. Our intensive care systems will make use of this equipment developed and built 100% by Ugandans courtesy of open source licenses provided by the International Institution,” said Freddie Emmanuel Mugunga, the undersecretary and spokesman of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Mugunga said scientists and engineers are leveraging government synergies to innovate and solve real time challenges faced by the country.
In a tweet, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor of Makerere University, congratulated Kiira Motors engineers and Makerere university researchers for successfully completing “this crucial stage of the low cost medical ventilator.”
The low-cost medical ventilator will support the management of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome caused by the coronavirus among other medical complications.
The ventilator project is being undertaken by Makerere University acting through the Resilient Africa Network, a Project at the School of Public Health, Makerere University; and the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation acting through Kiira Motors Corporation.
A Medical Ventilator is a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air in and out of the lungs, to deliver breath to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently. Uganda has 14 regional referral hospitals with 12 functional Intensive Care Units equipped with 55 functional beds implying an estimated 55 ventilators. In other words 1.3 beds and ventilators per million people.
Medical Analysts have projected increased global demand for ventilators due to the rise in severe Covid-19 cases. Therefore, an increase in conventional ventilator production is very likely to fall short of global demand. This is why it is imperative to have low cost affordable ventilators that can be manufactured locally. And such a ventilator would bolster the country’s surge capacity to provide critical care in the event of increased Covid-19 cases.