The lack of ventitlators and other critical equipment has become a growing concern amid growing cases of COVID-19 worldwide.
“Innoson Motors is ready to help the government in any way we can, including the possibility of converting lines to produce ventilators and other equipment,” Cornel Osigwe, a company spokesman, told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, citing his discussion. with Innocent Chukwuma, the group’s president, on the subject.
“But we need the government or other health institutions to place orders with the necessary amount before we can take a step,” added Osigwe.
With the disclosure, Innoson joined a growing list of auto companies that have expressed their intention to redirect their factories to produce medical equipment worldwide.
General Motors and Rolls Royce, major vehicle manufacturers in the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively, have publicly disclosed that they could produce fans and other equipment.
But while many agreed that it was possible to retrofit a vehicle assembly line for the production of fans, some medical equipment experts have warned that it may take several months before any results become useful.
“They are extremely sensitive machines, not only with a lot of hardware, but also with a lot of software. If one of the components does not work properly, the entire machine will be turned off and can no longer be used, ”said Jens Hallek, a specialist in the production of medical equipment at Hamilton Medical on Tuesday morning, Wired Magazine reported.
The Washington Post also reported that the US Department of Defense has warned that it may take more than a year for automakers or aerospace factories to start making ventilators.
Nigeria registered its first coronavirus victim on Monday morning with the death of a 67-year-old retired senior officer from the state. The sexagenarian was among the 36 infections recorded so far in Nigeria since the first case was discovered on February 27, about three months after the virus broke out in China.
Nigeria is believed to be underestimating the number of COVID-19 carriers in its population. Less than 200 people are believed to have been tested, an extremely inadequate number against the country’s nearly 200 million people.
There are also concerns that some elderly and other immunosuppressed patients who may lose their ability to breathe on their own will not receive a ventilator, a computerized unit that pumps air in and out of the lungs.
It was unclear how many ventilators are currently available in hospitals across the country, but in 2018 a medical expert criticized the alarming number of deaths recorded in Nigeria due to the acute shortage of oxygen machines.
Doctors at four different teaching hospitals on Monday said that they could not estimate more than 300 oxygen machines across the country.
“I cannot estimate more than 300 ventilators in Nigeria,” Segun Adeoye, a consultant neurosurgeon. “And you should remember that all ventilators are probably already occupied by patients suffering from other forms of illness before the coronavirus outbreak.”
Adeoye said Nigeria would be better off preventing large-scale infections among citizens because the medical equipment needed to support hundreds of patients at the same time “just isn’t there”.
Officials at the Federal Ministry of Health’s Bob Enefaa declined to comment on Nigeria’s ventilation capacity or whether the government had initiated efforts to acquire equipment to support potential pandemic demand.