DOST targets mass production of ventilators through ‘Project Ginhawa’

Published April 28, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Dhel Nazario

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is trageting the mass production of ventilators through its “Project Ginhawa” in compliance with the directive of President Duterte to operate 24 hours amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Department of Science and Technology (MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Science and Technology (MANILA BULLETIN)

In a late Monday night address, the President told the DOST and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to increase their workforce in order to hasten their initiatives against the COVID-19.

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Pena said that President Duterte is just concerned about the welfare of the country.

“Maganda ang hangarin ng Pangulo. Gusto rin niya talaga na mapabilis ang aming projects na tugon sa COVID-19, at sa iba pang mga epidemya na maaring dumating sa hinaharap (The President’s intent is good. He really wants to speed up the projects for COVID-19 and other epidemics that might come up in the future),” he said.

During the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Meeting at the Malacañang Palace on Monday night, DOST presented the agency’s ongoing initiatives to develop and mass-produce locally made ventilators.

According to Dela Pena, the average number of ventilators in small hospitals in the Philippines is a very small fraction compared to what is really needed. He added that it has also become more difficult to obtain imported ventilators these days due to high demand.

“So we have this project called ‘Ginhawa’ and actually we are already undergoing the final production of the three prototypes and hopefully if the prototypes will work in our test patients at the ICU, we can continue with the mass production,” he said.

DOST’s Ginhawa (ReliefVent) is a locally-designed portable ventilator that is lightweight and much less expensive compared to imported ventilators. Embedded with software for self-diagnostic cloud-based data analytic and protocols for operations and trouble-shooting, ReliefVent runs on both AC or DC power.

Dela Pena added that there are identified electronics companies that are capable of producing this. Ginhawa is projected to cost 40 percent lower than other portable ventilators in the market.

Other than University of the Philippines – Manila, the DOST Secretary mentioned that there are eight other interested groups that volunteered to do the ventilator research.

“For example, ang Don Bosco po, ang Mapua okay, ay nag-propose din sila na sabayan na sila. Hindi naman kailangan isang grupo lang po ang mag-ano, pwede namang sabay-sabay (For example, Don Bosco and Mapua have submitted proposals. It doesn’t have to be just one group, there can be simultaneous research),” he said.

Ventilators have become a vital machine in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals have used the machine to assist COVID-19 patients suffering from respiratory symptoms. (With a report from Genalyn Kabiling)