Aeronautical engineers from aerospace and technology company Paramount Group have teamed up with emergency doctors at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, for the design and production of the innovative Intubox to help protect frontline healthcare workers when treating patients who are suffering from Covid-19.
Responding to the call by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who urged the public and private sectors to join forces in the fight against Covid-19, Paramount Group is making available its resources, from aircraft for the delivery of medical supplies, to its manufacturing facilities and highly-skilled engineers and technicians, for the production of medical equipment.
The Intubox – an innovation by Professor Feroza Motara and medical teams from Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital – provides a lightweight and transparent protective enclosure around the head and chest of patients. This helps to limit contact with patients during intubation, extubation and aerolising procedures. It can also be used for patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis and patients suffering from Ebola.
Motara says research shows that the Intubox will decrease the risk of health workers being infected.
“We were really worried about the potential burden that Covid-19 could bring to our health system. We are already short of doctors and nurses. It is our hope that these devices will be deployed across the country to increase the protection for our frontline workers. ”
The Intuboxes will be distributed to hospitals in Gauteng by disaster response nongovernmental organisation, the Gift of the Givers.
Paramount Group says that, to date, South Africa has recorded the highest number of confirmed cases on the continent, and therefore the protection of frontline healthcare workers is critical to ensure that there are enough doctors and nurses to fight the pandemic.
The engineering teams from Paramount Aerospace Industries, who are normally designing and manufacturing aircraft, “jumped at the opportunity” to collaborate with medical professionals to help improve the protection of those who need it most: doctors, nurses and other clinicians at hospitals dealing with coronavirus patients, the company notes in a statement.
Following the successful development of a number of prototypes, Paramount Group has started production of 500 Intuboxes destined for Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, and other hospitals in Gauteng.
The Intuboxes have been designed to be collapsible and foldable, allowing for easy deployment, transportation and storage.
Paramount Aerospace Industries CEO Willie van Biljon says it has always been the mandate of Paramount Group to combine next-generation technological innovation with Africa-borne ingenuity to protect personnel in peacekeeping, police and defence force operations.
The development of the Intuboxes was funded by Rand Merchant Bank, SPIRE and Paramount Group.