By José Minaku SJ
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, like so many other countries in the world, is currently going through the health crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In the past two weeks the Loyola University of Congo (ULC), through its Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FAST) in collaboration with both internal and external partners, has had the challenge of making a model respirator at a low cost, using materials found locally.
The Coronavirus can cause a serious respiratory infection in affected people who would need to use artificial respirators to stay alive. With fewer than 1,500 artificial respirators for a population of over 85 million, the spread of Covid19 could lead to a shortage of artificial respirators in DR Congo. Touched by this serious situation, Professor Sandrine Mubenga, founder of STEM DRC Initiative at FAST initiated the design of a medical emergency ventilator. Many engineers and institutions have responded favorably to his call.
The prototype of this respirator has been assembled in the ULC laboratory, by its staff using local materials. The university is already in talks with the Congolese government and other partners to make efforts towards the production of a few models for experimentation outside the laboratory. It would be a remarkable local contribution towards the efforts of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project's objectives
The objective of the project is to meet the challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic by offering an artificial respirator which would be a Congolese solution, less expensive, which can be manufactured quickly in large quantities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This project aims to save lives by producing respirators to relieve patients in respiratory distress during the COVID-19 pandemic and other pathologies if necessary. This initiative is a double contribution to the development of the Democratic Republic of Congo: on the one hand, by responding to the urgency of COVID-19; and on the other hand, by demonstrating the possibility of creating local units of respirators to meet the needs of the populations.
How to support us?
- Commit to supporting the DRC respiratory team by raising awareness among your loved ones or your audience.
- Make a donation in kind or make available to us your equipment, services or laboratory likely to contribute to the realization of the project. Do not hesitate to contact us for more details here (www.respirateur-rdc.org)
- Make a financial contribution here (www.respirateur-rdc.org)
Other milestones made by the Loyola University of Congo towards the fight of COVID-19 pandemic
The Faculty of Agro-veterinary Sciences (FSAV) is also involved in the production of disinfectant gels, at a low cost while the Faculty of Philosophy, has put in contribution to share reflections grounded in our context on the post COVID-19 period. The philosophical days will be devoted to the current crisis.