COVID-19: Mimiko advocates for use of manual ventilators

• FG to focus on production of manual ventilators

Former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, on Tuesday, urged Nigerians to look inwards to carve out its own peculiar strategies to combat the deadly COVID-19 disease.

Mimiko who stated this in a statement tagged  “Just thinking aloud” released in Akure on Tuesday,  said the time is now for Nigerians to prepare for the worst-case scenario and look for its own solution to tackle the diseases.

Mimiko noted that the President’s recent address should give added momentum to the combat against killer COVID-19 virus, saying that the most crucial equipment at the clinical stage is the mechanical ventilator.

He noted the scarcity of the ventilator across the globe and said “obviously, Nigeria does not have enough to match a population of 200 million people”

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He advised that the country should “start mobilising massively for manual ventilators and start training paramedics who may be called to use them as instruments of last resort in an emergency” rather than trying to procure more of this life-saving gadget which is hardly available.

He said “Even New York is already making arrangements in case it needs to go through that route.

“I am sure that if we ransack medical stores in hospitals around the country, we may be able to retrieve a lot of old fashioned manual ventilators that can be fixed for use and also important to serve as a prototype for local production.

“Local companies like Innoson Motors, though may face challenges trying to produce modern type mechanical ventilators because of sophisticated software and sophisticated electronic parts,  will produce any type of manual ventilators quickly as would other similar or related local industries, if challenged.

“After all, the basic principle of most types of ventilators, positive pressure creators, is more or less the same as that of time-honoured bellows that our traditional smiths were so dexterous at”

He expressed doubts about any effort by a government official to engage Innoson since their reported claim to have the capacity to produce ventilators.

He, therefore, recommends “immediate engagement of Innoson and such other concern as could quickly manufacture manual ventilators.

“Simultaneously, we must start mobilising our local capacity and start building oxygen plants for what may turn out to be an astronomical demand”

Mimiko stressed the need to adhere to social distancing as a major way to stop further spread of the virus.

“May I state that in light of our obvious limited capacity to test, trace or treat or cope in case of a blowout, social or more correctly, physical distancing remains, the best arrow in our quiver” he stated

He added that the troubling issue is how to sustain a stay at home order when perhaps up to 40 per cent of our adult population earn their daily bread on a daily basis.

“We are quick to complain about a lack of data, but we have BVN. I’m told we have 40billion BVN accounts.

“Adopting a benchmark of say, annual turn over of say below 360,000 Naira needing palliative, and assuming that up to 50 per cent, which is 20 million qualify for palliative, say 20,000 Naira each, that will amount to just about 40billion Naira which we must find! This is without prejudice to other commendable palliatives like cash transfers, trader Moni etc.

Alignment of a database, I am assured, will quickly ensure nobody benefits twice” Mimiko said.

While appreciating governors that are already trying to provide food palliatives to households, he said “leveraging digital technology will surely help.

“In 2016, in Ondo State, we delivered food palliatives to about 150,000 households, seamlessly in three weeks”

Mimiko also commended frontline workers, the federal ministry of health and the NCDC.


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