THE National University of Science and Technology (NUST) is working with local hospitals to repair ventilators that have been defunct for years, machines that are key in handling Covid-19 critically ill patients. Ventilators are used in the Intensive Care Unit to assist critical patients to breathe.

Covid-19 affects the respiratory systems of critical patients and the country has an acute shortage of the machines. The university, which wants to live to its science and technology billing, has engaged United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Mpilo Central Hospital to repair the institutions’ damaged ventilators.
NUST has successfully fixed one of the ventilators at UBH but it has to be certified safe for usage by medical professionals. After independent verification, the university is ready to restore seven others that have not been working for a long time.
All eight ventilators are from UBH and it could not be established yesterday how many will come from Mpilo Central Hospital. NUST’s chairperson and senior lecturer in the Electronic Engineering Department, Dr Busiso Mtunzi said by initiating the repairing of the medical equipment, the university was addressing community challenges while enhancing students’ knowledge.

“There are some machines at the hospital that we are looking at. Some of the machines there have missing components that are supposed to be imported but of course with some machines we have managed to get some components locally. We have put together one machine that is ready for checking and certification by medical professionals,” said Dr Mtunzi.

He said once the ventilator is approved safe for usage, they will finalise on seven other machines that also need fixing.

“If it is tested and approved that it is working well, we will then finish working on the others. But there is the monetary aspect to be considered,” he said.

Dr Mtunzi said technicians at UBH who have experience in handling ventilators have been helping the engineers and students in fixing the machines. He said after completing work at UBH, they will proceed to Mpilo Central Hospital as they have identified some ventilators that also need repairs. Dr Mtunzi said NUST was committed to fighting Covid-19 and utilise practical technology for a positive change.

“There is positive contribution that is coming from the university not only on the ventilators but NUST is contributing in terms of hand sanitisers and face masks as well as in terms of lab testing which is done at the DNA lab,” said Dr Mtunzi. 

UBH clinical director Dr Narcisius Dzvanga said it was premature to celebrate the resuscitation of the ventilators and declined to comment further.

Source: Chronicle 

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