Meet the two Nigerian engineers fixing ventilators for free amid coronavirus pandemic

Mohammed Awal Apr 16, 2020 at 01:00pm

April 16, 2020 at 01:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

April 16, 2020 at 01:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

Image: Daily Nigerian

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Nigeria surges, easy access to a ventilator is a key difference between staying alive and dying. Unfortunately, Nigeria has not more than 500 ventilators across its 36 states and the Federal capital region. A ventilator is a piece of medical equipment that aids in artificial respiration when a patient’s lung fails to do it naturally as in the case of people affected with the coronavirus.

According to estimates, about 6% of persons who have contracted coronavirus will require intensive care and about 1 in 4 of them may need a ventilator to help them breathe, WebMD reported as the picture is changing quickly with infection rate surging rapidly globally.

And to ensure easy access to the limited ventilators Nigeria has during this pandemic, technicians Williams Gyang and Nura Jibril have taken it upon themselves to repair faulty ventilators across the country for free.

Gyang and Jibril had already repaired two faulty ventilators belonging to the Jos University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria’s Plateau State.

Gyang, an electronic engineer with the Plateau State Radio Television Corporation, explained how they ended up repairing ventilators as a token in the fight against the deadly coronavirus which has infected 407 Nigerians with 128 recoveries and 12 deaths.

“I woke up at about 2 am, wondering what it would take to make a ventilator. I started to research and found that it’s something I could try. The electrical component was particularly explorable for me so I thought to assemble the mechanical parts from scrapped ventilators and other electronic waste,” he said.

After linking up with Jibril, his high school friend, the two made their way to the Jos University teaching hospital where they requested an opportunity to study the ventilators there.

Authorities there mocked them after explaining to them the reason for their request was that they wished to manufacture one in order to augment the country’s limited stock. 

The institution eventually gave in to their request and led them to three broken ventilators and the exploration began. And lo and behold, Gyang and Jibril fixed the faulty ventilators.

“We will keep on working to see that we could at least fix others and possibly fabricate one. We are not trained on ventilators, but we gave a trial and fixed these ones in about five days. We feel happy that at least something was achieved,” the Daily Nigerian quoted Jibril as saying.

The Chief Medical Director of the Jos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Edward Banwat, said fixing the ventilators would go a long way in the fight against coronavirus.

“We have put them to test and all the parameters have shown that they are functioning,” the Daily Nigerian quoted him. “We will see how to encourage the two engineers,” he added.

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