Rwandan biomedical engineers from the Integrated Polytechnic Regional College Kigali (IPRC) have scored a feat by successfully producing the first ventilator as the country mobilizes more resources to battle COVID-19.
A prototype has been unveiled and sources say the ventilator will be released for use soon.
The team, carefully guided by Dr. Stephen Rulisa, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, University of Rwanda, and the Ministry of Health, says the prototype was produced in eight days.
According to Dr. Rulisa, the Engineers have developed a ventilator that works exactly as the ones available on the market.
“The difference is that one in Made in Rwanda, others are imported,” he said. “They have made this one for demonstration in 8 days… when supported; they can do one even in 3 days.”
One of the Engineers, Costica Uwitonze, is optimistic if supported as soon as possible, the team can kick off production of the device to save people’s lives.
Dr. Rulisa is convinced the team has all it takes for the job.
“We have the best brains in Rwanda as anywhere else in the world. .so let’s go!”
A Rwandan police drone fitted with a megaphone speaker flies in a residential neighborhood to enforce lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kigali, Rwanda April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jean BizimanaREUTERS
Drones enforce Rwanda lockdown
Similar ventilators, according to many suppliers, cost between $25,000 and $50,000. This is such a high-cost tool that many poor countries cannot afford for available Intensive Care Units.
Rwanda, like many other poor countries, has a shortage of medical equipment, a spike in numbers might be fatal to the fledgling health infrastructure.
The development of ventilators by local engineers is a huge leap in Rwanda’s medical infrastructure across the country.
Meanwhile, as the country grapples with a global pandemic, drones have been enlisted to keep residents of Kigali informed of coronavirus lockdown measures and to apprehend culprits who will abuse the Lockdown measures.
“Drones are flying where checkpoints are not mounted and where there are no patrols,” said police spokesman John Bosco Kabera.
Among culprits are a pastor pretending to be on her way to a radio interview when she was heading to church despite the ban on public gatherings.
Govt Extends Lockdown Until April 30
Like many African nations, Rwanda has relatively few coronavirus cases so far – 138 confirmed, with no deaths – The WHO has warned of Africa becoming the next epicentre if the public make light of security measures.
Rwanda began a major lockdown on March 21, with residents allowed to leave home to buy food or medicine and travel between cities and districts forbidden. On Friday, measures were extended until April 30.