UGANDA’S BULAMU LOW COST MEDICAL VENTILATORS NOW SET FOR CLINICAL TRIALS

BY MOSES SSERWANGA

The Bulamu low cost medical ventilators produced  in Uganda  are now ready for clinical trials before there are deployed in health facilities across the country , officials who are running the project have revealed .

Officials said that  in the couple of  weeks medical professionals working with kiira Motors engineers will undertake  Randomized Clinical Trials on  animals and human subjects. The teams will be led by Anaesthesiologists and Epidemiologists from the College of Health Sciences, Makerere.

“The studies will commence with patients who are moderately ill, then scale to patients who are severely ill. These assessments will be conducted at the Uganda Heart Institute. Alongside all these tests, the engineering team will receive continuous feed-back to optimise the design. Thereafter, the team will seek pre-launch approval of the product from NDA and relevant quality certifications from UNBS, following which 40 ready-to-use units will be initially manufactured for the government of Uganda,’ sources said..

The innovation is spearheaded by Makerere University  School of Public Health coordinated through the Resilient Africa Network(RAN)  and the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of  Science, Technology and Innovation led by  Minister  Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye under its local manufacturing company , Kiira Motors Corporation ltd ,(KMC).

Early  this month ,Uganda’s Minister of Health  Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng flanked by the Makerere University  Deputy Vice Chancellor in charged of Finance and Administration , Prof. William Bazeyo, unveiled the locally made low cost medical ventilators called Bulamu (Life) that are designed to offer life support to patients suffering from the global Covid -19 pandemic and other illnesses .

Under the guidance of  President  Yoweri Museveni, Dr. Aceng  who is widely praised for her  steadfast leadership in the containment of the spread of the coronavirus in Uganda has praised  scientists at Makerere  University and Kiira Motors engineers for their innovations that have led to the production  of a locally made low cost  medical ventilator .

The minister said that the Bulamu ventilators will be installed in various medical facilities across the country to help in the fight against Covid-19 and other illnesses .

A truly unique Ugandan medical  product

The Bulamu medical ventilators are unique in a sense that they can be operated outside the ICU setting, by fitting them in ambulances thus making them mobile and have a solar powered battery that can be used as a back-up for two hours in case of  electricity power  outrages .   

About Resilient Africa Network (RAN)

RAN is a multidisciplinary innovation development lab that leverages the creativity and talent of entrepreneurs, scholars, faculty and communities to develop and scale innovative ideas. The lab is based at Makerere University and was founded on the premise of bringing together scholars, a diverse array of industry players and entrepreneurs to co-create evidence-based solutions that build the resilience of communities facing recurrent shocks and stresses in Africa. We offer support to innovators in developing countries and launching their most compelling ideas, start-up enterprises and businesses that tackle the key development challenges in communities like disease epidemics, climate change, food insecurity, financial inclusion, rapid urbanization, and chronic conflict among others. .

What is the Bulamu ventilator

he Chief Engineer on the Bulamu medical ventilator project , Mr. Richard Madanda and Ms.  Pauline Korukundo the Vehicle Integration Manager at Kiira Motors  Corporation Ltd, said that  Bulamu is a medical ventilator – 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. 

The various components that make up Bulamu were all sourced locally and include a box and stand  made at Victoria Engineering and Pumps, Printed Board made by Biiri Applied ICT Center, electronics supplied by Ihnovex –Makerere, Medical air and accessories by Uganda oxygen and back up batteries by Uganda Batteries .

How it works

·  Connect the machine to air plus oxygen supply

·  Plug in to power/solar backup

·  Connect breathing grant to the patient

·  Switch on the power supply-home screen

·  Set the pressure

·  Set the tidal volume

·  Set breath per minute-respiratory rate

·  The ventilation process begins

·  Monitor the pressure, volume(tidal volume) Breath per minute as the patient improves.

msserwanga@gmail.com

MOSES SSERWANGA

Writer is a media and communications consultant And Advocate of the High Court of Uganda

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