UB Designs Ventilation Hood and Face Mask for COVID-19 Patients

As the University of Botswana continues to develop innovative solutions towards responding to societal challenges, once again it has designed and produced a clinically sound ventilation hood and face mask for COVID-19 patients. 

Recently, the University of Botswana designed and developed a face shield for COVID-19 frontline health workers. The shields are already in production while the hood and mask will soon go for production as well.   

ventilation hoodWith regard to the ventilation hood, it has been developed for COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure (those having difficulty in breathing). It offers the patient a non-invasive support for breathing. The hood is a see-through bag worn on the head. It has a rubber neck which sticks comfortably on the neck to reasonably seal off a mixture of oxygen and clinical air supplied to the patient by trained medical staff. 

The bag has three openings at the bottom, two of which serve to supply a proportionally controlled mixture clinical air and oxygen to the patient while the third one serves as an exhalation outlet. Inlet gases are readily available in hospitals either from bedside lines or pressurised containers. 

What is most interesting about this hood is that it is clinically sound for any medical environment. Furthermore, it is made from locally available material. It is relatively cheap and one-size-fits-all. The hood works within acceptable air pressure and volume that suit patient’s various needs. The hood also provides visibility in that the patient can be physically observed while being given attention. Most importantly, the device can be used in remote areas.

face maskMeanwhile, the face mask which is also a see-through device covering the mouth and nose, has similar functions as the ventilation hood. Consequently, in the event of severe respiratory failure, the mask can be used together with a ventilator to induce breathing in patients.Again, the interesting part about the face mask is that it has similar functions and attributes as the ventilation hood and comes in different sizes.

All the three products are part of the University of Botswana’s initiatives towards providing innovative solutions to societal challenges. Therefore, in the wake of COVID-19, the University immediately assembled a team of engineers and product designers to specifically come up with solutions that support the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As such, the team is currently working on producing a ventilator.

Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Professor Benjamin Bolaane, is leading the team that comprises three Heads of Department; Electrical Engineering, Professor Edwin Matlotse, Mechanical Engineering, Professor Jerekias Gandure and Industrial Design and Technology, Dr. Yaone Rapitsenyane. 

Other key team members are Dr. N. R. Batane (Leader – Technical), Professor V. P. Kommula, Dr. M. Kgwadi, Mr. I. Zibani, Dr. M. G. Ollyn, Mr. D. Sedupane, Mr. B. Montshiwa, Mr. L. Kotwe, Mr. F. B. Oagile, Mr. J. Finae, Mr. J. M. Lethapa, Professor R. Moalosi, Mr. O. Marope, Mr. S. Motshubi and Dr. S. Nkhwa of the Faculty of Medicine.      

In pursuit of academic excellence