Minister of Higher Education Engineer Dr. Brian Mushimba said it was gratifying to launch the COVID – 19 medical ventilator. In a speech read by Ministry of Higher Education Permanent Secretary said the milestone in the innovation could not have been achieved without the assistance of other partners such as Larfarge and Zambia Breweries who matched the resources by supporting this effort with K103, 000 and ensuring that the project is not only achieved but creates a pathway for making available the means to recovery by COVID – 19 patients.
Honourable Mushimba believed such technologies as the medical ventilator demonstrate the resourcefulness, willingness and potential to rise up to the occasion and support the fight against COVID – 19 by our own people in our own institutions.
Minister Mushimba commended UNZA for the innovation to find solutions by the multi-disciplinary commitment through the technical work demonstrated.
The Minister said the Government has called on initiatives that will assist prevent the spread of the virus and improvements in its treatment through support of innovators from a cross section of the private sector.
Dr. Mushimba was hopeful that the beginning of added financial and technical support towards curbing the pandemic must ensure more of such initiatives.
And representing Ministry of Health, Permanent Secretary Dr. Chanda said the world has been affected economically hence a wakeup call for initiatives with committed support as such to collectively fight the covid pandemic.
Dr. Chanda commended UNZA for the multi-disciplinary technical services rendered towards the innovation hence called upon the team to expedite the process as the Ministry remained committed to provide guidance.
Acting UNZA Vice Chancellor Tamara Kambikambi said to address the ventilator shortage UNZA constituted a team to develop a mechanical ventilator prototype referred to as UNZA Ventilator engaging a diverse expertise. Professor Kambikambi said the prototyote will operate on safe clinical ventilation.
She commended the sponsors, NTBC, Larfarge and Zambia Breweries for the support.
A single unit of UNZA ventilator will cost K45,000 considering electronic and other local materials used to assemble the equipment.
And National Business Technology Council (NTBC) CEO Dr. Chitundu Kasase said the mandate of NTBC is to support such commercial value technical – knowhow therefore responding to the request by UNZA to financially support the initiate NTBC extended a contribution of K100, 000 in order to actualise the project.
Speaking from the private sector partnership perspective Zambia Breweries (ZB) Plant Manager Albert Malunga said the company (ZB) has embarked on extending philanthropy contributions to the community for a better world and equally robust support to safe guard the health of not only its employees but also supporting such innovations.
And at the same event, Larfarge PLC Production Manager Jonas Kaonga said the company stands committed to fight the virus COVID – 19 and providing local solutions from the private perspective, Mr Kaonga said the need for ventilators will not only serve in the health sector but also bring pride as a country through such initiatives.
President of the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) Mr. Ezekiel Sekele said the association believes in local sourcing and value addition to the Zambian products.
He added that ZAM supports value addition through research based fertile ground especially that this is coming at an exciting time to help get local opportunities that must be actualized through partnerships as such despite the current tough health situation.
Chanda Muwowo PRO MoHE