Fifteen Kenyatta University (KU) students emerged winners of the UN PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD 2020.
The group was awarded in a ceremony at the United Nations Center at Gigiri attended by the Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Mr. Joe Mucheru and the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Wainaina.
The students formed the core team that responded to the Covid-19 pandemic while the University was closed by developing a Mechanical Ventilator known as the Tiba Vent.
One of the students Fidel Makatia Omusilibwa noted that the team with individuals from KU schools of engineering, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy made use of the principles of ventilation, fluid mechanics, control engineering, software engineering, and signal processing they have learnt to come up with a product aimed at combating COVID-19.
The ventilator has two inputs for clean, compressed air and oxygen gas. The two are blended in a regulated tank and then passed through an oxygen sensor that controls the blending depending on settings. Two valves are used to control the air passed to and from the patient.
The air is humidified to make it warm and moist before inspiration. The exhaled air from the patient is passed through a filter. Its pressure is governed by the exhalation valve.
Pressure sensors and flow sensors are employed to monitor pressures, flow rate, and volume. A graphical user interface has been implemented. Through this, the doctor can interact with the machine and set parameters like tidal volume [the volume of air entering and exiting the lungs after each breath], and FiO2 [the concentration of oxygen that a person inhales]. Alarms have also been integrated to give alerts for a number of incidents. These include the depletion of oxygen supply to the ventilator or the delivered pressure is higher or lower than the doctor intended.
Other dignitaries who attended the event include; UN Director-General Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee and Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor in the office of the President Ms. Ruth Kagia.