The South African Emergency Ventilator Project (SAVE-P), a Durban-based non-profit organisation started by local businessman Justin Corbett and Dr Greg Ash, will now commence production of its first order of 2,000 CPAP 100 ventilators. The Solidarity Fund has purchased these ventilators from SAVE-P for donation to the South African government.
The project team is also in talks with concerned organisations in several other African countries, who have indicated an interest in procuring ventilators to help them with their own Covid-19 treatment programmes. In addition, the team are providing a similar group of companies in India with the technical know-how to build their own ventilators in the near future.
SAVE-P and the group of companies have good capacity to increase production to cope with the expected needs of South Africa.
The CPAP 100 device is an affordable, reliable solution that has been designed and developed to go into production quickly. The units require little maintenance and a minimum of training for non-ICU qualified nurses. SAVE-P have received expedited licencing from the regulatory authority (SAHPRA) to manufacture the devices.
“The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices supply a high flow of oxygen and air blended to the patient’s requirements at a pressure slightly above normal” explains Ash. “The higher Oxygen concentration and pressure helps the oxygen pass into the COVID patients’ blood – keeping their oxygen percentage up. The slight pressure can also help open – up closed air sacs in more severe patients. These are not a replacement for full mechanical high-tech ventilators which are still needed for the most severe cases who cannot breathe adequately for themselves but can turn around the moderately severe cases and keep them off a ventilator at a fraction of the cost of a ventilator and without the intensive nursing capacity.”
“The device together with a humidifier can also supply the blended air and oxygen required for High Flow Nasal Canula treatment which has been successfully used in the Western Cape.”
The SAVE-P team comprises a group of committed South Africans from across the country, including engineers, designers, technologists and doctors, who have recognised the effort to gather and redesign CPAP machines that could be manufactured with existing local technology was a critical strategy solution for all national hospitals treating patients affected by Covid-19. The SAVE-Project has grown to 90+ volunteers who have been working around the clock to understand the needs of doctors and hospitals, researching and testing technology, designing the CPAP100 and coordinating with medical professionals and committed public servants. The team have produced prototypes at their own expense and have undertaken the testing required to achieve SAHPRA approval.
“This project would not have been at all possible without the incredible support and generosity from so many players in our supply chain,” says Corbett. “Our special thanks go to Claudio Maccaferri from MCR Manufacturing, Graham Ellet from Reef Engineering, the team at Bosch SA (including Africa President Markus Thill), Lionel Mccawl of Dowclay Products, Willie Conradie of Executive Engineering, Simone Rudolph-shortt of Isohealth SA and Andre van de Wetering of Afrit.”
“The team was pulled together with the assistance of NAACAM (the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers) who played a pivotal role in the early stages of this effort.” More information on the project is available at www.savep.org.za. Additional funding for the project is welcome.