Makerere University produces Ventilators and Tents
The Makerere University is engaging on several fronts regarding the provision of medical equipment, test kits and personal protective equipment. For instance, the School of Public Health at the University of Makerere is collaborating with the Kiira Motors Corporation and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) under the Resilient Africa Network (RAN) Project to develop Open Design Low-Cost Ventilators to meet local demand. Already, engineering tests for the device, which will cost less than a third of the market price of imported ventilators, have been completed successfully and if animal-tests are successful, application to patients can commence. Uunder the same RAN project, large scale production of Epidemic Management Tent (EpiTent) has begun. The low-cost tents, which are accredited by the WHO and USAID, have a capacity of 50 patients and will be used to isolate COVID-19 patients.
Furthermore, researchers from the Department of Immunology, based on their experience in the development of testing kits for Ebola, are working on low-cost rapid testing kits that can be used particularly in remote areas without laboratory testing facilities. The kits will reduce the testing time from 4-6 hours to just 15-30 minutes. Also, the Pharmacy department at the University of Makerere has gone into the production of hand sanitisers to meet domestic demand.
Again, in support of public education efforts, the Makerere University has developed an online Coronavirus Virus Resource Centre, which aims at providing comprehensive and fact-based data on the virus to the public and policymakers. The University’s School of Public Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Health also designed and organised a Training and Sensitisation session for organisations on preparing the workplace for COVID-19. Additionally, several studies are ongoing at the College of Health Sciences, including research on the epidemiology of the coronavirus, treatment protocols, community behaviour, among others. Students and faculty continue to provide support at national referral hospitals.