Covid-19: Health workers to be tested at MUST lab

The Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) says its laboratory will be used for testing health workers who are the frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19.

MUST Vice Chancellor Professor Address Malata said on Tuesday health workers are critical in the fight against Covid-19 and it is important that they should be protected.

“We have seen in other countries, even those where they have very good health systems, but if they don’t protect the health worker force, they actually become agents of spreading the disease,” said Malata.

On the same day, the university showcased face shields, face masks and an automatic water and soap dispenser produced at the university as part of efforts to fight against Covid-19.

The university donated the automatic water and soap dispenser to the Ministry of Health.

The other innovations included reusable face masks that are printed in 3D, face shields of different designs and costs.

Richard Chilipa, a lecturer involved in the project, said the university has produce more than 1000 face shields and some were made using 3D printing.

“If we can get funding to purchase a heavy duty 3D printer, we can increase production and be able to supply across the country,” said Chilipa.

The university is also developing a low cost ventilator and producing alcohol based hand sanitizers.

“We have developed a disposable gown that can be used as PPE by health personnel. This is also low cost and we can produce large quantities if we were to get the orders,” said Kent Kafatia, who is working on the gown.

Professor Malata said the innovations are focused on prevention because the Ministry of Health indicated that prevention is where Malawi’s health systems are stronger.

In his remarks, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Dan Namarika said universities should be a source of solutions in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malawi has recorded 37 coronavirus cases and there have been three deaths and seven recoveries.

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