By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
As part of efforts to curb spread of Coronavirus in the country, the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) has embarked on the production of personal protective equipment, mechanical ventilators and other materials to manage the pandemic.
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche said this on Monday at the Defence Headquarters when the DICON team came to present the items.
The items presented are face masks, ventilator, sanitizer and gowns.
He said the efforts by DICON is in response to the CDS directive to the Armed Forces to articulate strategic intervention to support the FGN fight against the COVID 19 Pandemic.
According to Enenche, “the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) has taken the lead among others, to provide a local content driven response to address 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 leadership 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.
He said ventilator is low- cost and capable of saving money that will be used for importation.
“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 ranging 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.
“Let me at this juncture inform you that the efforts of DICON in producing these array of COVID 19 equipment has been assessed, commended and approved by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Mr Boss Mustapha, the Minister of Health, Prof Osagie Ehanire and Permanent Secretary; General Service Office (GSO) Sir Olusegun Adekunle. All the samples of COVID-19 essential and life saving equipment will be unveiled at the end of this briefing.
“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.
Speaking at the presentation, Man. Gen. Ezugwu said DICON have the capacity and zeal to assist government fight Covid-19.
Responding to question on whether DICON is looking at markets beyond the shores of Nigeria, he said “our priority is to satisfy national demand, if we do that we can now look outside.”