Pakistan has joined the ranks of those few countries which are producing their own ventilators to help front-line medical professionals treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients. The first batch of ventilators manufactured in Pakistan has been delivered to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
The ventilators called “Safe Vent SP100” have been designed by National Radio & Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) — Pakistan’s high tech industry engaged in manufacturing of telecommunication equipment.
NRTC has produced 15 units of Safe Vent SP 100 and has a production capacity to manufacture 250–300 units per month. “Safe Vent SP 100 is FDA/CE approved economical and reliable ventilator” according to the official statement.
The next three “Made in Pakistan” designs of ventilators are also in their final stages. After which, Pakistan will be among the few countries in the world that manufacture complex medical machines, in accordance with European Union (EU) standards.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan stated “Pakistan now producing own ventilators is a landmark achievement for us,” congratulating the team behind the project, the engineers and scientists at NRTC and the Ministry of Science & Technology. The country has “abundant talent to take us to self-reliance in new technological innovation,” Khan said, adding that the government will “strongly support any initiative to harness the potential of our youth.”
“When the first Covid-19 case was recorded in February 26, we were not producing anything. Within a few months, we have become capable of producing our own equipment,” he said, congratulating the Pakistan Engineering Council, National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC), scientists and technicians.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry expressed hopes that the country would be able to meet its own need for ventilators and will be export ready. NRTC has now become the country’s first organization to develop portable ventilators.
The production of ventilators has further paved way for local manufacturing of medical apparatus in Pakistan. Pakistan imports medical equipment worth $2.1 billion every year while another $1 billion is spent on service agreement alone.
Pakistan’s approved list of ventilators
1. Safe Vent SP-100 by NRTC (approved and in production)
2. N-Saviour by NUST (under trial)
3. PAKVENT-1 by NESCOM (under trial)
4. Corvent by POF and PIEAS (under trial)
Current Covid-19 Situation in the country
Pakistan has emerged as one of the countries with the fastest rate of coronavirus infections in recent weeks, according to the World Health Organization. The country reported its first coronavirus case on February 26 and is now among the top 15 most-affected countries. More than 45 percent of people infected have recovered from the virus so far. Currently, 1,503 ventilators are available at government hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has opposed putting in place a far-reaching lockdown to battle the virus from the beginning, arguing that the country’s economy could not afford it. More than 100,000 new cases were reported during the last 20 days whereas government projections suggest the number may go up to 225,000 by June 30. Officials say Pakistan is still at least a month away from the projected peak. Violations of lockdown guidelines prompted authorities to seal markets, shopping malls and residential areas in several parts of the country. Virus hotspots in 20 major cities have been under a “smart lockdown” since June 14.