IMET2000 Delivers Fifteen CPAP Machines to Palestine
In response to the unprecedented challenges of the current COVID-19 pandemic, IMET2000 has been running an extensive programme of critical care education and training of all professionals working with COVID-19 infected patients since April 2020 throughout the West Bank. The Minister also asked us to support the two hospitals dedicated to care of infected patients and this we did, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential toiletries and sanitary products to staff and patients. However, we were ever mindful that the low infection rate in both Gaza and the West Bank was likely the lull before the storm so we investigated the possibility of providing either ventilators or low cost constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) respirators. In particular we had intensive discussions with the MoH and the President of the Palestinian Society of Anaesthetists. We decided to pursue the CPAP respirator route as realistic for a small charity.
Fortunately, IMET2000 is closely affiliated to University College London through the charity’s founder Professor Colin Green and Professor Barry Fuller and we were soon introduced to Professor Rebecca Shipley and the UCL-Ventura team who had completed the design of a new CPAP respirator and had them manufactured in bulk for the NHS by the Mercedes AMG HPP, who make the engines for Mercedes F1. These are badged as the UCL-Ventura respirators and are being used in 106 NHS hospitals across the UK to-date. The UCL-Ventura designs and manufacturing instructions were released at zero cost, and have been downloaded over 1900 times across 105 countries, with many teams making significant progress on local manufacture and deployment into their healthcare systems. More information is available via the UCL website (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/healthcare-engineering/covid-19/ucl-ventura-breathing-aids-covid-19-patients/).
When approached by IMET2000, the UCL-Ventura team were enthusiastic to support the COVID-19 response in Palestine, donated 6 respirators and provided the free license for manufacture through IMET2000. IMET2000 ran an intensive and successful fundraising campaign to raise the money to buy them and sought help from our colleagues in Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). They proved really generous not only in funding but facilitating shipment and all the border bureaucracy to get the respirators here in Ramallah today. They also helped IMET2000 gain the generous support of the British Consul, Mr Philip Hall, who has been so active not only with finance for shipping the respirators but also backing the IMET2000 training programme on use of the respirators in hospitals today so sadly crowded with CV19 patients.
We are proud to be part of this great team comprising the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the Palestinian Society of Anaesthetists, the British Consul to Palestine, Medical Aid for Palestinians, University College London and IMET2000. We hope that the 15 respirators plus 400 breathing circuits for the West Bank to go out today to 5 different key hospitals and the 9 with 200 breathing circuits about to be shipped to Gaza will be followed by more if resources allow and the need continues. For more information please see our websites (www.imet2000.org and www.imet2000-pal.org).