The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic became the most significant crises of 2020, shutting down the whole globe economically. The situation posed serious threats to the healthcare systems of nearly all the countries. As the emerging economy, with already weak public healthcare system and limited resources, and a population of more than 212 million, the pandemic brought enormous challenges to the healthcare system of Pakistan particularly rising the demand for ventilators. Unfortunately, on February 26th, Pakistan confirmed its first COVID-19 case and declared public health emergency.
During that hard time, Prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, showed high expectation from engineers and asked them to come forward to help Pakistan by designing and developing electromedical devices including ventilators. Where, the Ministry of Science and Technology also assigned the lead role to Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) to indigenously develop innovative electromedical devices, to adopt the indigenization approach – “Made of Pakistan”, and to create opportunities for local manufacturers with a concrete action plan.
As a central representative body of the engineering community in the country, PEC accepted this role and mobilized its resources. Subsequently, Pakistan Innovation and Testing Center (PITC) was established to facilitate the product development process as well as to act as a creative hub to design, innovate and incubate the engineering goods and solutions.
PITC, initiated its first project, Pakistan Manufactured Ventilators System (PMVS) and provided an enabled platform to engineers where they could register their designs for low-cost ventilators and PITC will expedite the development process for them, while ensuring the ventilator’s quality through standardization and testing. PITC devised an evaluation process for the submitted designs and articulated Acceptance Test Procedures (ATP) in collaboration with Drugs Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP).
Also, PITC procured test equipment for validation of the products. Three test and trial teams were designated at Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad comprising medical and engineering experts. Moreover, MOUs were signed with Jinnah hospital and Indus Hospital, Karachi, to test the prototypes. Advisory committee for consultancy to the local industry for manufacturing of electro-medical and engineering goods was comprised on gratis basis.
Throughout the project, a detailed documentation was created on every stage including standards for ICU Ventilators, Acceptance Test Procedures (ATP), project summary reports and test and trials reports for each ventilator.