Bennie Agro Nigeria Ltd, one of West Africa’s fastest growing mechanical engineering firms has officially unveiled its locally made ventilator, the first in the continent.
Local officials on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, announced the successful completion of the prototype, which was built in partnership with the Plateau State Government.
The State Governor, Simon Lalong in a live television broadcast said, “Our homegrown innovator, Engr. Jerry Mallo, who was earlier mandated to fabricate ventilators, has come up with a product, which is being tested by health experts for possible deployment as the need arises.”
Ventilators are machines that provide mechanical respiration for patients with respiratory failure, such as those with critical coronavirus disease.
Nigeria recently made a criticised reply to American billionaire, Elon Musk’s tweet, pleading for ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients.
“Federal Government of Nigeria needs support with 100-500 ventilators to assist with COVID-19 cases arising every day,” says the now deleted and denied tweet from the verified twitter handle of the Nigerian Ministry of Finance and Budget Planning, on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Reports from around the world have shown a spike in the global demand for ventilators, leading to shortages.
Jerry Mallo, 25, in March 2020, began research on the machine, to remedy the country’s many reportedly declined orders.
“We started this project to bridge the gap in the supply of ventilators basically to save lives,” he said.
Bennie’s Ventilator, now at the last stage of its clinical test was built in eight days, said Mallo, but has typically every feature of a foreign-made ventilator including power storage unit, respiratory rate control, pressure control among other major components.
“We are assessing it to see areas needing improvement and once we finish our assessment, the clinical examiners also, we can start mass production,” said Mallo.
Finance might be a challenge to hire additional manpower, raw and other production materials, he said, but “we are not going back,” added the Bennie Agro CEO.
He called for public and private partnership to solve the country’s most pressing need as local COVID-19 cases hit 1728 with 51 documented deaths as of Wednesday 29th April, 2020.
Jerry Mallo, a highschool graduate with only vocational training in engineering started technological explorations as a child but came to limelight in 2016 when he produced Africa’s first locally made tractor.
In September 2019, he unveiled the first Nigerian luxury Sports Car which he named Purrie, a local name for horse in Central Nigerian Ron tribe.
Mallo’s company, Bennie Agro Nigeria Ltd has manufactured several agro-related machines including rice processing plants, Irish potato processing machine, and most recently, foot-press hand washbasin.