Kenyatta University Ventilators for COVID-19 Response Scoop UN Award

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Kenyatta University students have been awarded for having developed mechanical ventilators to aid in the war against COVID-19.

The students were recognized by the United Nations, Kenya. The 15 students were lauded for responding to the pandemic in a timely manner, and developed mechanical ventilators that they named Tiba-Vent.

The group managed to win the 2020 UN Kenya Persons of the Year.


Ordinarily, when a person breathes in, their chest cavity expands, generating negative pressure inside the lungs. However, taking a breath may be a challenge for people who are unwell, which is where ventilators come in by creating a positive pressure that forces air into the lungs. COVID-19 patients have difficulties when inhaling.

The devices are popular in ICUs. Patients who need the help of a ventilator for an extended period may be put in a different wing of the hospital.

Ventilators can also be used at home.

The WHO has reported that about 80 percent of COVID-19 patients have been able to recover without the need for hospital treatment. Extreme cases, however, some of which have been linked to pre-existing conditions, may make breathing difficult. Ventilators ae used in such cases.

Ventilators also function as humidifiers, which add moisture and hear to the air supply so it matches the body temperature of the patient using it.

Besides the awards, the US Government has since donated 200 new ventilators to Kenya to assist Kenya’s reponse to the pandemic. The donation was made in collaboration with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).


The donation was announced in early October by the US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter.

Carmaker Mobius has also been part of companies that have been developing mechanical ventilators for the Kenya market. The ventilator prototype was ready for regulatory approval sometime in June. In a statement, Mobius said it would cost KES 100,000, with a capacity of 200 ventilators per month.


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