THE Harare Institute of Technology (HIT)has completed the testing of ventilators it developed this year and is ready to move to the production stage once funding is secured to import components.
This was said by HIT Vice Chancellor Engineer Quinton Kanhukamwe when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development yesterday.
Ventilators are critical in fighting the worst symptoms of Covid-19.
They are used to deliver room air or oxygen into the breathing circuit to treat patients with conditions like pneumonia or during mass casualty events.
HIT developed its first ventilator early this year following the outbreak of the disease, which resulted in a global shortage of the ventilators.
Eng Kanhukamwe said they had successfully tested three versions of ventilators at the University of Zimbabwe and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
“I want to say to date we have developed three versions of ventilators and ventilators come in different shapes and sizes and I am happy to say that with the guidance of international standards organisations framework on production of ventilators, all the three versions meet those standards.
“I also want to assure the committee that our ministry will be leaving no stone unturned for the mass production of those. The issue that is delaying mass production is foreign currency. We need foreign currency for specific components before we can begin production and supply our hospitals,” he said.
He also invited well-wishers willing to partner the institution in the production of the ventilators.
Appearing before the same committee, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Prof Amon Murwira said the gadgets had undergone rigorous tests.
“We are very excited that we are doing research in this area and we are demystifying the issues of technology that we can do it.
“One of the issues that Covid-19 has shown is the ingenuity of our people. Most of the time it was not apparent because there was no test, but now when you are cornered that’s when you can see that the education model, the 5.0 has really changed everything.”
The production of ventilators is among one of the interventions by institutions of higher learning in fighting the Covid-9 pandemic with most of the universities now producing sanitisers, face masks and other personal protective equipment.
The institutions are also involved in research on the treatment of the disease.