Their equipment, I would not call it a ventilator, would not offer all the great features of a modern ventilator, but it would do one extremely important work. It would save lives. And that’s what the need of the day is. Period.
A while ago we had already tried to make the point (http://letsdoitpakistan.pk/2019/12/22/think-global-make-and-use-local/), and now the Corona virus pandemic is again highlighting the same need.
- The whole world, including Pakistan, is facing Corona Virus (Covid-19) pandemic
- This virus mostly impacts the lungs of infected individuals
- As a result, lungs stop working or have difficulty in working
- As a result, oxygen supply to the body reduces
- The above eventually reach to a stage that the patient is not able to survive
Their chances of survival are more if a bio medical device called “Ventilator” is used to artificially help them breath till such time that their self immune system become strong enough to fight back the virus and their lungs become fully or partially functional again.
The challenge is that in case of a pandemic, such as Corona Virus (Covid-19) situation currently, number of patients needing ventilators in a short period of time is huge, outnumbering the available ventilators by many folds. According to a rough estimate Pakistan has approx. 2000 Ventilators both in the government and private sector, of which most are not functional for one reason or the other. Hence if Corona virus infection explodes in Pakistan, as has happened in several other countries of the world, we may not have enough or even close to enough number of ventilators to help the critical patients and results could be disastrous.
Not that Pakistani government is very resourceful anyways, but even if it switches all priorities in favour of getting better equipped medically, the regular price of an ICU ventilator ranges between US$ 20,000 –50,000 depending on offered features, makes and models. Not to mention that due to current Corona Virus spread, and demand for ventilators world over, one can expect to pay a premium of up to 50% or more if lucky, and if stocks are available. Assuming only 10% of Pakistan’s 200 million population getting infected with Corona Virus, of which only 1% needing a ventilator, Pakistan will need approx. 200,000 ventilators. It will be very hard to get those many ventilators from stock or becoming available even in near future. Even if they do become available at regular price, we are looking at approx. US$ 4 billion (200,000 x US$ 20,000) for the base model.
So, weather we like it or not, the above seems to be a pipe dream. Even if the country some how manages that much funds, by the time full delivery gets completed, half of critical patients would have lost the battle of their life to Corona. Hence from my perspective the option of BUY almost does not exist.
Let’s see what a ventilator is and what does it do:
At the bare bone level, Ventilator is an oxygen/fresh air pump that pushes oxygen/fresh air at a controlled pressure, in specific quantity (depending on the age, gender and physical size of the patient) at a specific frequency into the patient’s lungs to keep his/her body functions running. All other functionality of the ventilator is nice to have but is NOT mandatory. One may think if it is that simple what makes a ventilator only an importable item and why can’t it be made locally, quickly and cost effectively.
And that’s what, my friend, is the point of this article!
When doing research for this article I came across several knowledgeable engineers who claim to be able to deliver the above functionality, in different versions. These machines of course would be just bare bone machines delivering only the basic and core functionality of a ventilator i.e. pushing oxygen to patients as needed without any frills. They claim that this machine (s) can be made in a matter of days and in the range of Rs. 10,000 to 15,000 (US$ 70-100).
Their equipment, I would not call it a ventilator, would not offer all the great features of a modern ventilator, but it would do one extremely important work. It would save lives. And that’s what the need of the day is. Period. One of the above engineers even showed me video of a working prototype and estimated the finished cost to be even less than Rs. 10,000. Additionally, the person is ready to share his design, with a minimum royalty, with anyone who has the necessary infrastructure and funds to mass produce the same.
Looking at the simple design principle and technology I have no doubts that this equipment can be mass produced very quickly and cost effectively. Any existing engineering facility can easily modify their processes and use their existing machinery to produce the same with all local raw materials and parts. At a cost of even Rs. 25,000 (US$ 150) 200,000 ventilator like machine would cost approx. Rs. 5 billion (approx. US$ 33 million) which I am sure Pakistan can afford to spend particularly when it does not involve any foreign exchange.
By utilizing this local manufacturing, not only the country can save thousands of precious lives, but once this machine starts getting produced locally, over a period of time its design can be improved, additional frills and bells & whistles can be added and a more efficient and better version of this machine can be produced which can be more closer to current day ventilator. Then it can be exported to other less privileged countries and valuable foreign exchange can be earned.
I challenge professors and bright students at various universities and professional design engineers with engineering design companies to join hands with physicians and doctors, design local machines that use local skills, local parts and serve the purpose of basic ventilators. Starting point can be the suggestions and ideas from some of the above-mentioned engineers, who already have some working models. I also recommend small engineering shops, engineering parts manufacturers, engineering goods manufacturers, industrialists, entrepreneurs and all other businesses to invest in this product. It can prove to be a win-win situation for everyone by saving thousands of lives, making good money and earnings tons of sawaab.
They key thing here again is “Think Global – make and buy local”.
Note: If you like what you just read you can help more by:
- Subscribing – this way you will be notified anytime a new post gets made
- Sharing posts – this way you will spread the good words to more people
- Sharing ideas – this way you can give us your ideas/solutions for new blog
- Writing blog – this way you can actually contribute to this website and participate in the good work
Feel free to reach out to us for any questions, suggestions and/or areas for improvements.
March 30, 2020