COVID-19 in SA: Non-invasive ventilators ready to be rolled out

The National Ventilator Project says it’s confident the first batch of non-invasive ventilators will be rolled out by the end of July. The project has been tasked with meeting the demand in South Africa for simple, cost-effective versions. Courtesy #DStv403

CAPE TOWN - The National Ventilator Project says it’s confident the first batch of non-invasive ventilators will be rolled out by the end of July. 

The project has been tasked with meeting the demand in South Africa for simple, cost-effective versions.

The ventilators will be used to assist COVID-19 patients in the early stages of infection. 

They will go to hospitals most in need and be used to help COVID-19 patients suffering from respiratory distress. 

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“We are finding supply chains is constrained a little bit," said project manager Willem Esterhuyse.

"But we’re fairly comfortable that we will have around 250 to 300 ventilators by the end of this month, and 10,000 ventilators early in September.”

The project received dozens of proposals from companies vying to develop ventilation systems.

Stringent testing was done to determine the best out of 95 devices.

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“Over the last couple of months it’s become clear that the CPAP option, which is essentially a form of oxygen-air therapy where you provide a mixture of air and oxygen to a patient at a constant pressure, is really effective at treating COVID patients," Esterhuyse said.

The Uni-Life 100 is one of three ventilators that have been approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.

It’s ready to be manufactured on a large scale. 

This non-invasive ventilator was developed by subsea engineering company, Medical Marine Offshore, based in Cape Town.

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“This device is used in the medical industry and institutions prior to going onto a ventilator," said commercial director Mike Iles.

"The idea here is the device helps assist the patient with breathing, so these devices are called CPAP devices, which is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device.”

Iles says they’ve already received orders for the Uni-Life 100 from various hospitals across the country.

Source
eNCA