The devastating pandemic of COVID 19 has brought a lot of hardship, agony, and pains across the globe. The national response to the fight against this virus has met with myriads of challenges ranging from a thorough understanding of the disease to the astronomically high demands for personal protective equipment, mechanical ventilators and other materials to manage the ever-increasing number of Nigerians testing positive to the virus.
In response to the CDS directive to the Armed Forces to articulate strategic intervention to stem the ravaging scourge of COVID 19, the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) has taken the lead 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 defense equipment, the corporation 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 covid19 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, clinically test and produce several COVID-19 essential and lifesaving equipment. First is the production of over 1500 dozens of DICSanz, a high-quality hand sanitizer produced under very strict environmental conditions for supply to troops of the Nigerian Army by the COAS Lt Gen TY Buratai. This product is at the last stage of NAFDAC registration in line with extant due diligence provisions.
Furthermore, DICON has yielded to the clarion call by the Minister of Defence Maj Gen Bashir Magashi Rtd for the Armed Forces to support the indigenous capacity 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 shields and nose masks. They are currently being produced in large quantities for use by Kaduna State Government and other national stakeholders.
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 received 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), 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’s healthcare infrastructure amidst the war 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 Adeyemi 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 liaise with DICON for mass production of all prototypes of CORVID-19 PPEs for national application.
In conclusion, the CDS wishes to commend the innovative and local content brake through which reflect the dedication and diligence of Management and staff of DICON under the leadership and direction of the Director General Maj Gen Ezugwu . As more progress is made in the fight against this deadly virus, DHQ encourages the general public to practice the rules of social distancing and personal hygiene in line with the advice of the health professionals and to stay hopeful.