The news: An engineering company in Pakistan, Alpha Rubber and Plastic Works has developed a device that can utilize a single ventilator for multiple patients at the same time.
The splitter: The Lahore-based company is originally an auto-parts manufacturer but took the initiative to manufacture a device called “splitter” which attaches to a valve on the ventilator and can supply oxygen to multiple patients at the same time. The splitter is reusable and can provide up to four patients with oxygen from one ventilator. The company will provide the product free of charge to hospitals across Pakistan and urged the Punjab government to ban its commercial trade.
Effectiveness in emergency: Osama Usman, the head of the private company, said that Plan 9, the tech incubator at Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) had been manufacturing the splitter using 3-D printer technology which was expensive and time-consuming. Alpha Rubber and Plastic Works was approached by PITB and came up with a way to start manufacturing the product within three days despite ongoing lockdowns. “Now we are manufacturing 1,000 ventilator connectors daily which is being supplied to various government and private hospitals in Punjab,” he added.
Pakistan second after U.S.: Health experts were concerned about the effectiveness of the product as it attaches more than one hoses to the same ventilator. The requirement of oxygen needed by a patient depends on their age and condition of the disease. Hammad Khalique, head of business development at Plan 9, said that the splitter would only be used in emergency situations. Keeping in view the current lack of ventilators in Pakistan, they developed the product to aid in a worst-case scenario. After the United States of America, Pakistan is the second country in the world to manufacture the splitter.
Situation in Pakistan: The total number of positive coronavirus cases in Pakistan has crossed 4,000 with 55 deaths. It is feared that as the virus spreads, the medical equipment and facilities available in the country will not be enough to cater to the citizens’ needs. Amid the health crisis, a volunteer group called “Pakistan Against Covid-19 Volunteers” (PAC-V) has also been working to create medical equipment through 3D printing technology.