Pakistan has started manufacturing ventilators to treat critical COVID-19 patients. Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said in a tweet. The minister said NDMA would receive the first batch of ventilators in this week.
The announcement comes at a time when Pakistan is racing to get extra 1500 ventilators as part of its contingency plan. The media reported hospitals ran out of space to treat coronavirus patients in various cities of Pakistan. Hospitals turned away patients in major cities due to a lack of availability of beds. The demand for ventilators spiked amid chaos and confusion and people panicked to arrange ventilators for in advance for critical patients of COVID-19.
— Ministry of Science & Technology (@MinistryofST) June 28, 2020
Further, even the WHO listed Pakistan in the list of countries with the fasting rate of the spread of COVID-19. Currently, 1503 ventilators are available at government hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
In a video message, Fawad Chaudhry said that now Pakistan is among the few countries producing ventilators at home. He attributed the success of manufacturing local ventilators to the engineers. Chaudhry said the Ministry of Science and Technology partnered with Pakistan Engineering Council and embarked on the project a few months ago. Also, he said now the team produced the first batch of 8-10 ventilators.
The minister said that three different models of ventilators are in the final stage of approval.
Testing kits for COVID-19 also in the pipeline
He added that Pakistan reported its first case of coronavirus on February 26th. At that time, the country lacked all the required medical equipment to deal with health emergencies. Now, after a few months, Pakistan is producing ventilators and other equipment to fight COVID-19. He said Pakistan will become self-sufficient with the ‘Made in Pakistan’ ventilators to treat patients of COVID-19.
He congratulated the engineers, scientists of Pakistan for a remarkable achievement. In June, Fawad Chaudhry informed that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan had approved the country’s first COVID-19 testing kits produced by researchers at NUST institution. He said that the production of local testing kits would reduce the cost of testing for COVID-19 in Pakistan. Also, it will reduce the costs of importing testing kits in Pakistan.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has approved Pakistan's first COVID testing kit prepared by @Official_NUST and our brilliant scientists. This will bring significant cost reduction of COVID tests. A landmark achievement of Min. Of Sci & Tech under @fawadchaudhry.
— Ministry of Science & Technology (@MinistryofST) June 12, 2020
Earlier, in May, he announced that Pakistan is going to export PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). “This week ban on exports of PPE’s [wi]ll be completely lifted and Pakistani manufactures [wi]ll be able to export COVID 19 related material to the world, this trade ll help Pak immensely,” he tweeted.
Pakistan to export sanitizers and disinfectants
Fawad Chaudhry said Pakistan is producing its sanitizers and disinfectants. Moreover, it is now capable of exporting them. The decision to export sanitizers and disinfectants confirms that the government has adequately dealt with the rise of COVID-19.
Speaking at an event at COMSTECH, Ch said Pakistan faced a shortage of hand sanitizers in the beginning. “We decided to manufacture face masks, hand sanitizers, and sanitizing walk-through gates,” he said.
Fawad Chaudhry slammed Pakistani universities for not guiding the government through any specialized research on coronavirus. In March, the Minister said his ministry has constituted a task force under the leadership of Dr. Ata-ur-Rehman. It will develop an indigenous immunization vaccine for coronavirus in Pakistan.
Taking to Twitter, he informed that the ‘Scientific task force on COVID-19′ will coordinate with all the international researching bodies on coronavirus. So, the force will report directly to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Pakistan looks forward to playing its part in the global research for coronavirus vaccines, says Fawad Chaudhry. He further added that the Ministry of Science and Technology would also develop a Science Data Research Foundation to ascertain the answers to critical questions on coronavirus.
Fawad Chaudhry explained initiatives to fight COVID-19
He appeared for interviews with Arab News and Hum News. The minister explained the initiatives of the Ministry of Science and Technology to fight the pandemic coronavirus.
He said Pakistan developed hand sanitizers that are available at utility stores.
In an interview with Hum News, he informed that his ministry under the program Pakistan Science Foundation is launching a comprehensive study to look at various aspects of coronavirus in Pakistan. He said it will study data on which genders and age groups coronavirus has affected more and why coronavirus affected certain people more in the group of Shia pilgrims than others
He further informed that the Pakistan Engineering Council was working on developing cheap ventilators in the country. Hence, it will reduce Pakistan’s dependence on foreign aid.