The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Wednesday unveiled emergency ventilators produced by its researchers to support government on the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
The Chief of Air, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, who unveiled the ventilators in Kaduna, said it had undergone clinical trials using dogs and pigs to determine its efficacy.
He said tht a team of NAF personnel and researchers from partner institutions commenced work on developing the NAF emergency ventilators in April.
”Within three weeks, two prototypes were developed and I was in Kaduna to witness the demonstration.
“Having seen the progress made, it became necessary for the prototypes to undergo animal testing to ascertain its capacity for use on patients with respiratory illness.
“Accordingly, the Nigerian Air Force partnered with the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to test the effectiveness of the ventilator using both dog and pig models.
“The objective of the animal testing was to demonstrate the capacity of the NAF Emergency Ventilator to ventilate patients with respiratory disease including Acute Lungs injury and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.”
Abubakar added that the test was also necessary to validate the efficacy of Assist Ventilation Mode where the ventilator detects a breath from a patient and synchronizes the equipment with the breath of the patient being treated.
“I am glad to note that the test was successfully completed and the equipment is certified fit for use.”
Newsmen report that the Air Chief was represented at the event by NAF Chief of Standard and Evaluation, AVM Remiguis Ekeh.
Abubakar noted that the devastating effect of the COVID-19 required ingenious and proactive steps to protect lives and avert any form of national tragedy.
He stated that NAF had hitherto embarked on mass production of face masks and Personal Protective Equipment as well as the provision of Liquid Oxygen to designated hospitals and isolation centres across the country.
“The Nigerian Air Force has equally continued to provide airlift for personnel of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and medical equipment whenever our services were required.
“The NAF has also conducted the Introductory Flight Nursing Training, which provides the capacity to conduct medical evacuation of COVID-19 patients.”
According to him, all the efforts as well as several other initiatives were aimed at adequately preparing the NAF to provide the required support for the Federal and state governments in the battle against COVID-19.
“The Nigerian Air Force has continued to vigorously pursue a robust and result-oriented research and development policy with emphasis on the provision of indigenous technological solutions.”
The Air Chief also disclosed that Acute Respiratory had engaged in strategic partnerships with some Ministries, Departments and Agencies to reduce dependence on foreign equipment, adding that “the efforts have yielded results and positively impacted our operations.”
Abubakar appreciated the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari for the support and encouragement to the NAF.
Earlier, Chief of Standard and Evaluation, AVM Remiguis Ekeh said NAF has made giant strides in the area of Research and Development under the sterling leadership of the Chief of Air Staff.
Ekeh said by investing in high quality training of personnel, innovative approach to issues and encouraging out- of-the-box thinking, a lot of solutions to operational challenges in the NAF have been locally developed through Research and Development, thereby saving huge resources.
“This event today is a testament of the collaborative efforts of Nigerian Air Force researchers and our technical partners from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” he said.