As reported by The Blade Newspaper:
UT professor works to aid native Congo during pandemic
As a professor at the University of Toledo saw the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic spread to her native country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), she became interested in helping.
Dr. Ngalula “Sandrine” Mubenga, Ph.D, PE, and assistant professor of electrical engineering technology at the University of Toledo, was born in the DRC and remains connected to her native country by providing thought leadership and service work due to personal interest. Early in the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic, she became especially concerned about the lack of ventilators. The DRC is home to more than 80 million people but may have had only about 200 ventilators when the Coronavirus hit the Congo. The country soon ordered 1000 more, but she knew that even this would not be enough.
After seeing an article about how a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) built an emergency ventilator from commonly available parts, she reached out to them to learn more. Then she turned to her network in the Congo — her own nonprofit, STEM DRC, and the Loyola University of Congo to start a team project to build ventilators in the DRC.
On April 4, she posted a video to her Twitter page seeking help to develop an emergency ventilator that could be built in the central African country using the limited materials and manufacturing resources available there.
In about a month, a team assembled from around the world collaborated to design a prototype that students at the university in the Congo helped build on-site with their 3-D printer and available materials. They used open-source plans from MIT to build a machine to automatically pump a resuscitator bag, normally hand-operated, that is readily available in local hospitals.
“We were all kind of surprised how fast it went,” Ms. Mubenga said. “We have built what you call proof of concept…. We are still making adjustments. We are changing different parts here and there.”
The prototype is being tested and tweaked in-house. The collaboration also includes the Congo’s national trade school, and the team is working with a hospital in the capital city of Kinshasa where doctors are providing feedback.
The group is already in discussions with the Congolese government to begin the process of getting the emergency ventilator approved.(Mester, A 2020) Read More
Source: Mester, Alexandra, 2020: “UT professor works to aid native Congo during pandemic,” published May 26, 2020 in The Blade newspaper and retrieved online May 28, 2020 from https://www.toledoblade.com/local/Coronavirus/2020/05/26/ut-professor-works-to-aid-native-congo-during-pandemic/stories/20200525053