COVID-19: Military Heighten The Fight Against The Dreaded COVID-19 pandemic

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The High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), has manufactured some life-saving and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to heighten the fight against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Among the lists of items manufactured and ready for distribution are low-cost mechanical ventilators, hand sanitizer, personal protective gowns with face masks for health workers amongst others.

Briefing journalists at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), on Monday, in Abuja, Major General John Enenche, Coordinator of the Defense Media Operations (CDMO), said that the Nigerian military is working consumately to ensure that the nation is wins the war dreaded pandemic.

The CDMO said that the lives-saving and personal protective equipment, were being manufactured by the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON).

General Enenche, who noted that the devastating pandemic (COVID 19) has brought a lot of hardship, agony and pains across the globe, averred that the national response to the fight against this virus was not without challenges, ranging from a thorough understanding of the disease to the astronomically high demand for personal protective equipment, mechanical ventilators and other materials to manage the Pandemic.

Consequently, he said in response to the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), to the Armed Forces to articulate strategic intervention to support the Federal government’s fight against the COVID 19 Pandemic, the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) took the lead among others, to provide a local content driven technological response to addressing the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Nigeria.

“Additional to its primary responsibility to produce defence equipment, DICON has succeeded in diversifying its human,   equipment, machinery as well as research and development capacity, to support a much-needed strategic intervention to cushion the effects of the highly dreaded COVID 19 in the country.”

“Consequently, DICON, under the visionary and result oriented leadership of Maj. Gen. Victor Ezugwu, has mobilized its management and staff to research, develop, produce and produce several COVID-19 essential and life saving equipment.” 

“First is the production of over 1500 dozens of DICSanz, a high-quality hand sanitizer produced under very strict environmental conditions, requested by the COAS Lt Gen TY Buratai for supply to troops of the Nigerian Army. This product is at the last stage of NAFDAC registration in line with extant due diligence provisions.”

“Furthermore, DICON has responded to the directive by Honorable Minister of Defence Maj Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd) for the Armed Forces to support the indigenous capacity of Nigeria, to support Medical workers by producing thousands of high quality non permeable Personal Protective Equipment kit. Each unit of these kits consists of standardized gowns, face shield and nose masks. They are currently being produced in large quantities for use by Kaduna State Government and other national stakeholders.”

“In addition to these, DICON engineers, consultants and medical teams have successfully produced a digital mechanical ventilator known as DICOVENT. The newly designed low-cost machine is a simple mechanical ventilator that can deliver positive pressured ventilation using a volume-controlled ventilation (VCV) system.”

“The ventilator has undergone thorough scrutiny and assessment  by specialists from top ranking hospitals and experts in the country including Cedar crest Hospital Abuja, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Kaduna amongst others.”

“It is important to mention that while DICOVENT may not be able to meet the high demands of critical patients, it can be used for Continuous Mandatory Ventilation (CMV) and Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilation ( IPPV).  It can also be used for invasive ventilation and non-invasive ventilation using an endotracheal tube and mask respectively.”

“Suffice to note that these inventions by DICON including those by other military institutions of the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air force as well as Nigerian Defence Academy have given bright hope to Nigeria healthcare infrastructure on the fight against COVID 19”, the CDMO stated.

He disclosed that the efforts of DICON in producing these array of COVID 19 equipment has been assessed, commended and approved by Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, as well as the Minister of Health, Prof Osagie Ehanire and Permanent Secretary; General Service Office (GSO) Sir Olusegun Adekunle.

The CDMO also unveiled to the media, samples of the COVID-19 essential and life saving equipment.

“As DICON and other military institutions continue their drive to support our national effort to defeat COVID-19, the CDS hereby urge Federal and State Governments to patronize the local content initiative of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. He has therefore directed all the Armed Forces to liase with DICON for mass production of all prototypes of COVID-19 PPEs for national application”, he said.

While unveiling the equipment, Major General Victor Ezeugwu, Director General of DICON, said that the manufactured equipment was in an effort to provide home grown solution to combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

He assured of the effectiveness of the equipment, averring that the ventilators have the capacity to function optimally under poor power supply, as its battery was rechargeable and could last for several hours

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