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PHILIPPINES: Don Bosco Tech College Innovision Center developing open-source ventilators to help address COVID-19 pandemic


(MissionNewswire) Father Chito Dimaranan, rector and president of Don Bosco Technical College, has announced that engineers from Don Bosco Tech College Mandaluyong Innovision Center will develop and produce open-source ventilators to be distributed to various hospitals in the Philippines, according to an article in the Manila Bulletin. The project will be under the supervision of engineer Romel Pasia, and the design of the ventilators is based on an MIT-Boston Medical University design.

Marlou Madrio, an IT professional and rail practitioner in Singapore who is also a Don Bosco alumnus and the designer of the prototype, said in the article that Don Bosco engineers will later iterate the prototype and mass produce it afterwards. He told the Manila Bulletin that his timetable to finish the design reference prototype is three weeks.

“We started two weeks ago answering to the call of Fr. Dimaranan to develop an open-source ventilator. We are applying robotics to actuate a medical device known as an Ambu bag,” said Madrio in the article.

Ambu bag is the proprietary name for a device known generically as a manual resuscitator or a bag valve mask. It is used to provide positive pressure ventilation to patients who are not breathing adequately.

In a Facebook post Madrio stressed the great need in the Philippines for ventilators. He wrote, “Time is of the essence. There are only 1,253 commercial ventilators in the Philippines, 153 of which are in Metro Manila. We are 105 million Filipinos with only  89,000 hospital bed capacity.”

Also on Facebook, Fr. Dimaranan called on all Don Bosco alumni around the world to help create workable, inexpensive ventilators to meet the worldwide growing demand. He posted, “Bosconians all over the world, I am calling on you to support a team of fellow Bosconian engineers based in Manila, Cebu, Singapore, USA, and others who are right now developing a workable, doable, and cheap ventilator.”

Since its launch in 1953, Don Bosco Tech College has evolved into a complex institution that now serves around 2,000 students enrolled in kindergarten through senior high school as well as college courses, and technical and vocational education.

Since 1950, Salesian Missions has been providing crucial help in the Philippines—working with at-risk youth, impoverished families and disaster victims. Humanitarian agencies warn of the dangers faced by the most disadvantaged children in the Philippines. According to UNICEF, there are at least 1.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 who are out of school and are being left behind. In addition, children born into the poorest 20 percent are almost three times more likely to die during their first five years as those from the richest 20 percent.

Salesian missionaries, supported by funding from Salesian Missions, were at the forefront of disaster relief during reconstruction after the Nov. 8, 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) devastated the country. According to United Nations estimates, 11.5 million people were affected by Haiyan and close to 1 million were displaced. More than half a million were homeless and living in the streets among the debris. Salesian missionaries mobilized all resources and efforts to aid the victims of this and other disasters.



Photo courtesy of Chito Dimaranan / appearing in the Rappler

Don Bosco Mandaluyong

Manila Bulletin – Don Bosco Tech engineers developing open-source ventilators to help COVID-19 patients

Salesian Missions – Philippines

UNICEF – Philippines