Electronics manufacturer Philips on Tuesday announced that it has received authorization to release its new Phillips Respironics E30 ventilator in Kenya.
The company looks to help the country fill the critical ventilation shortage as it fights the Coronavirus pandemic. The Philips ventilator has been verified and approved by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB).
As of June 2020, the Ministry of Health indicated that Kenya had only 189 ventilators countrywide to treat COVID 19 patients in need of critical care.
Philips has up-scaled production of the device since mid-April 2020, producing 15,000 units per week. Ventilators are among the important equipment needed to take care of Coronavirus patients with healthcare workers working tirelessly trying to contain the virus.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of COVID-19 patients recover without needing hospital treatment. Most COVID-19 would therefore not need a mechanical ventilator and could be treated at home or with supplementary oxygen.
However, one in every six COVID-19 patients becomes critically ill with the virus causing damage to the lungs therefore making it harder to breathe. The virus causes a potentially fatal condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
In ARDS, the alveoli (tiny air sacs that allow oxygen to reach the bloodstream and remove carbon dioxide) fill with fluid, which diminishes the lungs' ability to provide vital organs with enough oxygen. To alleviate this, a ventilator is used to push air, with increased levels of oxygen, into the lungs.
The ventilator also has a humidifier, which adds heat and moisture to the air supply, so it matches the patient's body temperature. Patients are given medication to relax the respiratory muscles so their breathing can be fully regulated by the machine.
A ventilator offers the best chance of survival for patients with worst case effects of the coronavirus.
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