The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, MoSTI through Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) in collaboration with Makerere University have registered another milestone with the production of a functional medical ventilator which has been named BULAMU,( life).

“This is a locally manufactured medical ventilator which upon final approvals will be available to support life in 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,” Mr. Freddie Emmanuel Mugunga , the Under Secretary and also doubles as Spokesman of the Ministry of Science , Technology and Innovation ,stated.

Mugunga said that 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 the Kiira Motors  engineers  and Makerere university researchers upon successful  completion of “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 into and out of the lungs, to deliver breaths 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 a total of 55 functional beds implying an estimated 55 ventilators in other words 1.3 beds and ventilators per million people.

Why produce medical ventilators locally

Medical Analysts have projected increased global demand for ventilators resultant from the continual increase in severe COVID-19 cases.  Therefore, an increase in conventional ventilator production is very likely to fall short of global demand and with high associated cost. This is the reason 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.

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