COVID-19 Campaign by NIC Nepal
Brief Report of the COVID-19 Campaign Run by National Innovation Center (Rastriya Awiskar Kendra) to Help Mitigate the Spread of Corona Virus in Nepal Until May 17, 2020
The government of Nepal announced nationwide lock down on March 24, 2020 to minimize the spread of Corona virus across the country. Before that they had postponed all the international flights coming to Nepal. Soon after the announcement of lockdown was done, National Innovation Center started receiving calls from doctors of different hospitals such as Bir Hospital, Teaching Hospital, BP Koirala Institute of Health Science and others for help to create, develop and manufacture things that can help to mitigate the spread of Corona virus. Those calls triggered the ideas of getting involved to help mitigate Corona virus outbreak in Nepal.
First, we looked for the materials in the market that can be used to make gown for the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). We found that a material called Rubberized Taffeta Fabric is good for the gown because it is waterproof and can be reused after putting it several times in auto clave for disinfection. We made a couple of sample PPE gowns and showed them to different doctors. Those doctors told that those gowns are very good and will be much more protective for the doctors than having nothing. After we got some more suggestions from the doctors for the improvement, we redesigned the gown and started producing them. Those gowns have been made fully airproof and waterproof. Other than producing and distributing gowns, we are developing and distributing several other things as follows to help hospitals and communities across the nation.
1) Manufacturing and distributions of PPEs to Hospitals – So far National Innovation Center has distributed more than 8,000 PPE gowns to more than 240 Hospitals, Primary Health Care Centers, Corona Isolation Centers, and Corona Testing and Treatment Hospitals of 53 districts of 7 provinces of Nepal. The local governments are sending their vehicles to National Innovation Center to get PPEs and other items. Depending upon the size of the hospital, we are distributing 25 to 30 PPs to big hospitals, 15 to 20 PPEs to medium size hospitals, 10 to 15 PPEs to Primary Health Centers/Corona Treatment Centers and around 5 PPEs to small health clinic in the villages. People are coming at the center to pick up the PPEs and other items.
2) Distribution of PPEs to Ambulance Drivers, Security Personnel and hospital staff – Most of the hospitals provided PPEs to limited number of medical professionals. Because of the huge demand of PPEs from ambulance drivers, security personnel working at Nepal India Borders, Emergency Rescue Squad of Police, hospital personnel such as nurses, junior doctors, interns, cleaning staff working at the hospitals, we have so far distributed more than 1000 PPE gowns, gloves and surgical masks to them.
3) Manufacturing and Distribution of Corona Booth – From the Internet, we learned that hospitals in South Korea were building a special booth to separate the doctors and Corona patients while collecting swab of the patients. We realized that those booths are helpful to protect health workers, our engineers redesigned the booth based upon the materials that were available. We asked engineers in different parts of Nepal to build booths for hospitals, where they treat Corona patients and collect swab for testing. So far 32 such booths have been distributed to hospitals in different parts of Nepal. More booths are being built because there is more demand especially from the Terai region of Nepal
4) Manufacturing and Distribution of Aerosol Box – Our engineers have developed a simple box made from transparent acrylic sheet, which is good for protecting the doctors from the sneeze of patients, while they are treating the patients. It has been named aerosol box and we found in the Internet that hospitals in other countries are using similar boxes. We have distributed 26 of those boxes to different hospitals.
5) Repair work of broken ventilators of different hospitals – National Innovation Center received request from several hospitals for help to repair their broken ventilators and medical equipment. We created a team of volunteers of biomedical engineers and sent them to different hospitals. We found that there were 85 broken ventilators in different hospitals. 40 ventilators have been repaired so far and the hospitals can use them. The biomedical volunteers are trying to fix others as well despite being difficult to get spare parts. Also our biomedical have helped to fix 12 Kidney Dialysis machines of different hospitals. We are helping them to fix those machines free of cost.
6) Developing and testing some other useful devices – There are some other useful medical devices that are being developed and tested at the innovation center in order to help minimize the outbreak of Corona virus. Some of the concepts and ideas to develop the different things were given by people through email and some ideas were found from the Internet.
- Developed disinfection box using UVC (Ultra-violet C) light and Hydrogen Peroxide – Because of the acute shortage of N95 masks in the market we have developed UVC chamber to disinfect the used N95 masks for reuse. The system is being tested at Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu and at the laboratory of Microbiology Department of Tribhuvan University. Now we are producing those boxes.
- Developing masks using HEPA filter and N99 filter as alternative mask – There is huge shortage of N95 masks in the market. Alternative masks using the fabrics of HEPA filter and N99 filter have been made and are being tested at the laboratory of Tilganga Eye Hospital in Kathmandu. The test result looks good. It has been found that HEPA filter can filter the tiny particles as well as N95 masks and N99 filter do better than N95 Masks. However, we have not been able to make masks in large quantity because of the lack of materials.
- Developing Emergency Ventilator – Based upon the design of E-Vent made by researchers at MIT and design given by engineers of TU Delft, Netherlands, we have also developed prototype of emergency ventilator at the innovation center. The prototypes are under testing now and are good. More emergency ventilators can be made if the situation worsen and emergency ventilators needed.
- Developing Robots to deliver food – Because of demand from isolation centers at Corona hospitals, a simple but autonomous robot to deliver food and medicines has been developed and are being tested at the center. Those robots has been delivered to Nepal Army Hospital in Chauni, Kathmandu. Second robot is now ready to be delivered to Birgunj.
- Developing Infrared Thermo-gun – Because of the lack of thermo-gun to measure the temperature of patients, local governments requested for help to get thermo-guns. Therefore we are developed 3D printed thermo-gun and tested them. Those thermo-guns can be produced if needed.
7) Partner Organizations – After National Innovation Center started the Corona virus mitigation campaign, America Nepal Medical Foundation came first to collaborate and work with us. After that several other organizations and individuals came forward to collaborate in the campaign. Here they are –
- American Nepal Medical Foundation, USA
- Nepal Biomedical Association
- Protech Nepal
- Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu
- Bir Hospital, Kathmandu
- Nepal Army
- Panchakanya Group
- Kavach Garment
- Raymonds Tailoring
- Call A Tailoring
- Kishor Rimal, Rabindra Maharjan, Radheshyam Malla, Dabbahadur Pun for providing vehicles for transporting materials and people.
- There are around 22 researchers working at the innovation center for R&D and distribution⋅
8) Request for Collaboration and Support: More individuals and organizations are welcomed to collaborate for this corona campaign. You can contact Mahabir Pun, Chairman of National Innovation Center at [email protected] or phone/WhatsApp/Viber at +977-9841592361.
National Innovation Center is distributing all the things such as PPEs, Corona Booth, Aerosol Box and others free of cost to people. If you would like to donate for this cause and campaign, please have a look at the following options and choose one to donate.
Rastriya Awiskar Kendra
Himalayan Bank Limited Thamel Branch
Account No. - 01906322060017
Global IME Bank
Rastriya Awiskar Kendra, Nayabaneshor Branch
Account No. - I101010000686.
Please follow this link to download the PDF for this report. COVID-19-Response-NIC-Nepal PDF File.
Thank you very much. I appreciate for your interest.