Ventilators play a crucial part in our continued fight against COVID-19. In the midst of the pandemic, Filipino doctors, engineers, and scientists are in the process of locally developing a ventilator. This Filipino ventilator will not only be at par with internationally-made equipment, but will also be cheaper and more readily-available nationwide.
Known as Ginhawa (ReliefVent), it has been in development since 2012, when it first started receiving funding from the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).
A team of experts led by Dr. Abundio “Bunds” Balgos, a pulmonologist and retired professor at the UP College of Medicine, is currently developing this 100% Filipino ventilator.
Ginhawa to Provide Relief for our Healthcare System
Ventilators have become a vital machine in the global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals have used them to assist COVID-19 patients suffering from respiratory symptoms. In the current worldwide fight against COVID-19, ventilators have been vital life-saving machines.
This is where the Filipino ventilator Ginhawa comes in, as it would provide great relief to our healthcare system. Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña presented Project Ginhawa to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Meeting at the Malacañang Palace last April 27.
Dela Peña explains that currently, the average number of ventilators in small hospitals around the country does not meet the current demand. He adds that it has now become more difficult to obtain imported ventilators these days due to high demand.
“So we have this project called ‘Ginhawa’ and actually we are already undergoing the final production of the three prototypes and hopefully if the prototypes will work in our test patients at the ICU, we can continue with the mass production,” said Dela Peña.
Almost ready for field testing
Dr. Balgos’ team includes several local experts. This includes Dr. Camilo Roa, Jr., Biomed tech specialist Glenn Tuazon, as well as members of the Philippine General Hopspital Pulmonary Fellows, UP Manila Administration, and other software and hardware specialists.
Ginhawa can both be used by children and adults. It’s also lightweight, and projected to cost 40% lower than other portable ventilators in the market.
Secretary Dela Peña said that they are now in the process of developing three prototypes for field testing.
“If the prototypes will work on our test patients at the ICU, we can continue with the mass production,” he explains.
The DOST has already identified electronic firms that are capable of mass producing their successful prototypes of this Filipino ventilator.