As the fight against Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria gets bolder, two technicians, Williams Gyang and Nura Jibril, have repaired two faulty ventilators belonging to the Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH, Plateau State. This they did voluntarily. The gentlemen; Mr Gyang is a diploma holder working with the state Radio and Television station as electrical engineer, while Mr Jibril is self-employed.
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A Fruitful Leap in the Dark
After hearing of the demand for ventilators worldwide, and the impending doom for Nigeria if the COVID 19 hits, Mr. Gyang narrates as follows:
“I then came and talked to the management of JUTH. I was taken to where some faulty ventilators were and were offered to repair two for a trial. I called my friend and we worked on a particular one and fixed it. We also fixed the second one thereafter.”
Though haven’t been trained on ventilators previously, their previously gained technical knowledge enabled them to give a trial and fortunately, fix the machines on ground. Gyang adds,
“Because of the outbreak of Coronavirus, I heard about ventilator and I asked what is that ventilator, I made a research on it and I said, let me see if I can fabricate one. I came and talked to the management of JUTH, I was taken to where some faulty ventilators are and discovered that we can work and fixed the three broken ones.”
That was in no way a small feat, not just for them and the health facility, but for the entire community battling the pandemic. This feat was affirmed by the Head of the Hospital, The Chief Medical Director of JUTH, Prof. Edmund Banwat, who lauded their efforts. In his words, he stated;
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“We took to look at ventilators, these are not functioning ones and they have put two to function. We have put them to test, but all the parameters have shown that they are functioning.”
Doctor Banwat said with the fixing of the two ventilators, the hospital now has six functional ventilators, and had ordered for more.
According to Banwat, the two repaired ventilators are being monitored but all the parameters that are needed show that they are functional. The chief medical director said it was necessary to encourage ingenuity in youths, for the possibility of producing ventilators in Nigeria. He said the outbreak of COVID-19 has made General Motors (GE), one of the companies producing ventilators, to produce four times its usual capacity but only for the American citizens and not for export.
Hearts of Gold in Flesh Form
Engrs. Gyang and Jibril stated that, they were interested in fabricating the ventilators when they heard countries stressing the need to get more of the equipment to reduce the disease death rate. The motive was not for monetary gain, but to save lives. Gyang stated,
“I did not do it with my friend to be paid, I can’t collect money and then sit down and watch people dying, it is a humanitarian service to assist.”
“The outcry is bad, people are dying, We need to begin to harness our potentials in Nigeria by supporting talents in the country in researches for inventions in the country.”
Gyang explained that he assessed the ventilators and discovered they can be fixed and so invited his childhood friend who attended Technical College, Jos, with him, which resulted to its success. He said his training as an electrical electronics engineer and 10years experience in the engineering unit of Plateau Radio Television Corporation contributed to the successful repairs. He said the repairs required the use of special chemical and mechanical materials as the machine was operated on humans, saying they have one left to be repaired.
“I watched the news and saw how many people were dying of the virus and wished that I was a doctor, but then I said I can still do something based on my training,”
The engineers Mr. Williams Gyang and Nura Jibril, said they decided to embark on the repairs as part of their social cooperate responsibility, in the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
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