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Invest more funds in researches to combat COVID-19 pandemic

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A university lecturer, Dr Olusegun Akinyemi, has urged the Federal Government and industries to collaborate and invest more funds in engineering innovations to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Akinyemi of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, made the call at the 11th virtual public lecture organised by LASU on Thursday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the topic of the lecture was: “Engineering Intervention To COVID-19”.

Akinyemi said that allocating more funds to research institutions would encourage indigenous multidisciplinary research interventions.

“Some of the interventions by engineers include: 3D printing technology of face shields and masks, which enhanced the mass production for people to use, and robotic intervention for testing and reduce human contact.

“Others include: usage of robots to distribute drugs to people and testing of temperature, artificial intelligence traffic sensor, production of open source ventilators and automated handwashing machine,” Akinyemi said.

He said that the effect of COVID-19 on the world system could not be currently estimated, because it cut across every sphere of life including: education, aviation, economy, sports and more.

“The pandemic created numerous challenges with the exposure of frontline health workers to the virus, non availability of medical PPE, limited supply of medical equipment, such as ventilators and test kits.

“However, engineers joined the community of scientists around the world to tackle challenges the pandemic threw up,” Akinyemi said.

Also, Dr Nurudeen Raji of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, LASU, said it was important for LASU and other institutions in the country to rise up to future challenges by developing innovative mindset.

Raji said that development of an innovative mindset would make LASU rank as one of the world class universities and transform the institution to greater level of excellence.

“We are working so hard to put finishing touches to the high premium ventilator being produced by the department, with unique features.

“The ventilator is unique. It will assist the patient to breath well, clear the patient’s room of viral particles and ensures clean air for breathing.

“Furthermore, the team is also working to improve on the automated machine, especially for communities without clean water in order to recycle unclean water for use.

“We are also collaborating with the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) to produce medical robots and a host of other medical related innovations,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr John Audu, the Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Lagos branch, said that COVID-19 pandemic had enhanced perception of engineering bodies to focus on engendering innovations.

Audi said that the academia, industries and governments came together to produce quality management and high standard which were key.

“Automation has taken the centre stage as a result of COVID-19, Zoom has become a tool for events and meetings.

“When the pandemic broke out in Nigeria, the society challenged LASU to produce ventilator, which the design and process is still ongoing.

“We played a role by supporting the innovation of the ventilator, and we are also in alliance with other institutions and engineering societies in order to achieve more,” he said.

Commenting, Prof. Elkanah Oyetunji, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, LASU, said that collaborations and partnership with stakeholders, academia, industries and governments was the way to move researches forward.

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