Defense Industries Corporation: Coming in from the cold

Defense Industries Corporation: Coming in from the cold

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 12:26 pm


Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, Kaduna

DICON manufactured ventilators to combat Covid-19

Richard Elesho/ Lokoja

Necessity, as they say is the mother of invention. Put differently, adversity brings out the best in man. The Covid-19 plague that is ferociously ravaging the globe has forced many individuals and organizations to think out of the box in their search for solution.

The Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) has been one of the groups in a frentic search for a cure. The military took some time off its combat engagements with insurgents in the Northeast to brood on scientific research and innovation. The efforts yielded results with the announcement of the manufacture of Digital Mechanical Ventilator by DICON. The equipment is stylishly named DICOVENT. Similarly, the Federal Road Safety Commission announced the production of face masks for its men.

 

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DICON was established by an Act of Parliament in 1964 to champion the country’s production of military hardware. Consequently it went into agreement with a German manufacturing firm, Fritz Werner, as its first Technical Partner. It is run by the Nigerian Armed Forces and has it’s main factory in Kaduna.

Since its establishment, DICON has manufactured many items including munitions and small arms under licence. Critics however believe it could do better. For a season the firm was like a sleeping giant as no good news came from its direction. In 2012, it assembled an Armored Personnel Carrier.  But the advent of the Buhari administration and the emergence of Maj. Gen. Victor Okwudili Ezugwu as Director General, brought a new gusto into the firm.

News of its latest breakthrough was  broken recently at a Press Conference by Brig. Gen. John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operations monitored on Channels TV. Enenche said the initiative was at the instance of Maj Gen. Bashiru Magashi, Minister of Defence who charged the military to boost indigenous capacity against the Coronavirus with the production of high quality Personal Protective Equipments, PPEs.

The PPEs have value added contents. Each unit consists of standardized gowns, face shield and nose masks. The low-cost machine is a simple mechanical ventilator that can deliver positive pressured ventilation using a volume-controlled ventilation (VCV) system, the Defence Headquarters said.

”The ventilator has undergone thorough scrutiny and assessment by specialists from top ranging hospitals and experts in the country including Cedar Crest Hospital Abuja, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Kaduna among others.

“It  is important to mention that while DICOVENT may not be able to meet the high demands of critical patients, it can be used for Continuous Mandatory Ventilation (CMV) and Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilation ( IPPV). It can also be used for invasive ventilation and non-invasive ventilation using an endotracheal tube and mask respectively.“

According to Eneche, the equipment “are currently being produced in large quantities for use by Kaduna State government and other stakeholders. They were produced jointly by DICON Engineers, Consultants and Medical teams.

Mechanical ventilation is the technique through which gas is moved toward and from the lungs through an y are in high demand for the treatment of symptoms associated with the Covid-19 outbreak. There are different types of Ventilators with prices ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 Dollars.

Pa Oyeniyi a retired military officer commended DICON for the recent achievement but charged it to intensify research in its core mandate. “We must move beyond the stage of sowing uniforms and producing jackboots… We need to focus on real military hardware if we must confront an enemy at the gate.”

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