In spite of adversity and deprivation caused by the Israeli occupation, Palestinian engineers have built a pump-action medical ventilator to treat patients with COVID-19.
The Palestinian Al-Quds University, near Jerusalem al-Quds, unveiled the ventilator on Thursday a day after it was certified for use in Palestinian hospitals, AFP reported.
According to the head of the university’s faculty of medicine, Hani Abdeen, Palestinian territories, including the besieged Gaza, had only 180-200 ventilators. Many more such machines will be required if the outbreak escalates within the Palestinian territories, which are home to about five million Palestinians.
Palestinian engineers decided to design their own ventilators given the global peak in demand for the device and difficulties in importing large numbers of them.
“This proves the perennial fact that under duress you excel,” Abdeen said, pointing to the difficult political situation of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. “We have to rely on the knowledge, the expertise, and the innovative ability of Palestinian intellectuals, scientists, and medics in order to help our community.”
Earlier, Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said Palestine had requested cooperation from Israel to combat the COVID-19 epidemic but instead received incursions, killings, and demolitions from the occupying regime.
Abdeen added that Palestinian engineers improvised solutions to counter a shortage of needed supplies.
“Of course, there was this problem ‘where are you going to find the parts needed for this ventilator in order to produce it in large numbers?’” he said. “But we were fortunate enough to find (them) in the Palestinian market.”
The ventilator is less advanced than larger models available on the market but can be quickly produced with a fraction of the cost of the advanced models.
The Palestinian engineers aim to produce 500 ventilators for local hospitals and possibly export additional machines beyond the territories.
“We are now in a hurry to produce for our hospitals in Palestine, and later on we (will try) to produce more machines for the whole world,” said the dean of the university, Imad Abu Kishek.
So far, there is only a limited need for the ventilators as only 350 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the Gaza and the West Bank. Two people have also died.
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas resistance movement have undertaken strict measures to contain the outbreak.
Israel has so far reported nearly 15,000 confirmed cases and 193 deaths resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.
Source: Palestine Responds.