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More Nigerian varsities enter fray with commitment to beat coronavirus

The outbreak of Coronavirus appears to have jolted Nigerian universities to the reality of their roles in contributing intellectually in tackling the pandemic.

In the last couple of weeks, Nigeria has seen an increase in incidences of COVID-19 spread across some parts of the country, while Lagos State, the commercial hub of Nigeria, Abuja, the political seat of power, and Ogun are experiencing lockdown.

Those familiar with this subject observe that as Nigeria in particular and the world in the general face this unprecedented global challenge, universities should proactively respond to the challenges and shoulder their responsibilities at such times to demonstrate their commitment to society.

In response to this call, the University of Benin, Bayero University Kano and the University of Ilorin have put in motion steps to produced hand sanitizers, ventilators, and other health products as part of support to combat the spread of the pandemic.

The University of Benin (UNIBEN) recently commenced mass production of liquid soap and hand sanitizers in a bid to check further spread of coronavirus in the country.

The initiative is part of proactive measures by the management, led by Lilian Salami, the Vice-Chancellor, to check the COVID-l9 pandemic.

Benedicta Ehanire, public relations officer of the university in a statement, says the management has also purchased more infrared thermometers to be deployed at all gates into the university to be operated by security personnel who have been trained for the crucial assignment.

On their part, the Technical Entrepreneurship Centre (TEC) at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) has been contracted by the Kwara State government to produce hand sanitizers to the tune of over N30 million.

Jamiu Odusote, director of the centre, explains that under the arrangement, the centre would produce four different sizes of hand sanitizer, which are 150ml, 250ml, 500ml, and 1,000ml, saying the products will be of high quality.

Odusote observes that the centre has the capacity to produce a large volume of hand sanitizers within a reasonable period of time, pointing out that the management would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the goods are delivered at specification.

Meanwhile, in Bayero University Kano, a team of engineering academics is working towards the fabrication of a ventilator as a contribution of the institution’s quota towards fighting off the dreaded Coronavirus.

The university’s Faculty of Engineering has set up a seven-man committee with a view to producing prototype ventilators for emergency use in Kano hospitals and other isolation centres as part of efforts to contain the pandemic, which has been threatening the country.

In a statement signed by Salisu Dan’ Azumi, a professor and dean of the Faculty of Engineering disclose that the committee under the chairmanship of  Abdussamad Jibia, a professor from the Department of Mechatronics Engineering is expected to design and fabricate a prototype ventilator which would be used as an emergency measure in our hospitals.

A ventilator is a machine that aids people who cannot breaths on their own by pumping air in and out of their lungs through tubes passed through their windpipes.

Azumi noted that it has two weeks within which to present its report to the Faculty Board including the design and construction of prototype ventilator for emergency use in hospitals and homes to treat patients of COVID 19 pandemic.

According to the statement, “The Committee is charged with the responsibility of suggesting the modality for mass production of the designed and fabricated ventilators. It would also give an estimate of the cost of producing the ventilators”.

Azumi further opines that if succeeded in the production of the prototype, the deanery will approach the University Management for sponsorship and possibly reach out to relevant agencies such as the National centre for Disease Control (NCDC), states and federal government for mass production.

Similarly, the University’s Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry says its staff have been engaged in the production of hand sanitizers to be used within the university campus and engaged in the production for possible distribution to the Kano community.

It will be recalled that the Department of Computer Science, Lagos State University, Ojo (LASU), recently developed a mobile app to enable individuals to do a self-test of COVID-19.

This action according to the Institution is part of the efforts of Lagos State University to create awareness to the general public on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement by Ademola Adekoya, the coordinator, centre for information, press and public relations, LASU and made available to BusinessDay, says this innovation was led by Benjamin Aribisala, a professor ably assisted by other team members, including Oluwatoyin Enikuomehin; Olusola Olabanjo; Abdulazeez Saheed, and Abdulazeez Anjorin of Microbiology Department.

The statement further says the software has been tested and certified by the Provost Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM), Ikeja, and will be available on Playstore from April 7, 2020.



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