The news: Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated Pakistan’s first batch of locally developed ventilators on Monday. The locally developed ventilators are designed to help medical practitioners in Pakistan battle covid-19. According to the Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, the country will establish its own medical and electromagnetic industry within the next three years, and start exporting equipment within five years.
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Ventilators: Last week, Chaudhry expressed appreciation for the provision of 100 ventilators to Pakistan by the United States of America. He also highlighted that Pakistan is now producing ventilators itself. He said that in a few years, Pakistan will not only be one of the few countries that are able to fulfill their own requirement for ventilators, but also export it to other countries like the US itself. On July 5, PM Imran Khan handed over the first locally manufactured batch of ventilators named ‘SafeVent SP 100’ to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA).
Manufacturing: Chaudhry said that the ventilator is a complex machine to manufacture and only a few countries, including Pakistan, have the ability to produce its units according to European Union (EU) standards. The Pakistan Engineering Council had chosen four out of 57 designs for the ventilators, one of which is already being manufactured while three designs are in the last stages of approval. The first batch was commercially manufactured by the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) whereas one other government and two private sector institutions are also in the process of setting up manufacturing facilities.
Expenditure: The minister said that Pakistan spends around $2.1 billion on the import of medical equipment per year and $1 billion on service agreements to keep the equipment running. He expressed his hope that Pakistan will be able to avoid this expenditure by setting up electromagnetic and medical industry in the coming years and become self-sufficient for the supply of medical equipment while also exporting it to countries around the world.
Export: Chaudhry underlined that before the pandemic hit Pakistan, the manufacturing of medical equipment was minimal. However, within a few months, the country rose to the challenges and started manufacturing medical supplies. Pakistan is already exporting hand sanitizers and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the United States. He also praised the efforts of the Pakistan Engineering Council, National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC), and other scientists and engineers who made this possible.