By JOREEN NABUTTO
The locally-made low cost ventilator by Makerere University for giving breathing support to Covid-19 patients has successfully passed the engineering tests.
The ventilator will now be subjected to clinical trial to assess its efficiency, as required of all medical products.
Ventilators are used on patients who have signs of breathing failure, a likely scenario with Covid-19 patients.
The university Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawange, applauded the team for speeding up the process of developing the machine.
“I congratulate Kiira Motors Engineers and Makerere University researchers upon successful completion of this crucial stage of the low-cost ventilator,” he said at the weekend on Twitter.
The professor, however, on Sunday said: “We are making four prototypes after successfully undergoing engineering tests. We are doing final modification and shall be ready for clinical trial in few weeks.”
Prof Nawange did not give details of what engineering tests entail.
However, according to information from ECRI (Emergency Care Research Institute) website, a global institute that does medical device testing, ventilator tests include battery test and power loss alarm, lamp test, audible and visual alarms, ventilator rate leak tests and proximal airway pressure gauge, and positive end-respiratory pressure (PEEP) control.
Audible and visual alarms ensure that when oxygen supply hose is disconnected, appropriate alarm should result.
PEEP sets the level required for the patient. The pressure gauge reading should cycle and return to appropriate baseline at the end of each breathe delivered to the test lung.
Statistics from the institute also indicate that about four per cent (2/56) of Covid-19 patients who recovered had progressed to the worst health state one (about 2 per cent) required breathing support.
In other countries, the percentage of patients requiring ventilation is high. Statistics from a study published in Journal of American Medical Association showed that of 5,700 patients admitted in one of the hospitals in New York, around 12 per cent needed breathing support