Could South Africa produce 10 000 ventilators by June?


The National Ventilator Project was recently established to deal with expected deficit in ventilator requirements in the coming months as South Africans fight the Coronavirus. The Department of Trade and Industry is driving the project. The project aims to produce at least 10 000 ventilators by mid-year. Government is currently looking at proposals from various manufacturers. 


Ventilators are in short supply across the globe. New York City alone requires an estimated 30 000 ventilators. Africa is likely to find it even more difficult to manufacture ventilators on time. The goal of the National Ventilator Project is to produce 1 500 ventilators by the end of May and 10 000 by the end of June. This will supplement the 6 000 currently in place in the private and public health sectors in South Africa. 

For the project, the government is looking for non-invasive pressurised gas masks. With these systems the required gases are supplied through a mask at pressure. They require no electricity to operate. The plan is to start production by the end of the month. The successful bidder must guarantee the capacity to increase production to 50,000 units. 

Denel, the South African defence giant has already expressed interest. Their engineers have already started to work on it. They will also look into manufacturing sanitisers for medical and industrial use. And Casspirs may be converted to ambulances.