Malaysia’s 1st semi-ventilator launched to assist medical frontliners

The device is customisable and designed to lessen medical personnel’s tasks, as they do not have to hold the bag valve mask

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

ETHOVENT, the country’s first semi-ventilator, is bringing innovation and economic solutions to the healthcare sector.

Launched by Saora Industries Sdn Bhd, the device replaces the need of using a bag valve mask or also known as an “Ambu” bag — a hand-held manual resuscitator — as it is intended to deliver controlled and consistent bagging to patients with breathing difficulties.

Saora Industries CEO Ganesh Muren said he saw the opportunity to introduce Ethovent as hospitals and medical frontliners grappled with a shortage of ventilators following the increasing number of patients amid the Covid-19 spread.

“In the true spirit of social innovation, this semi-ventilator addresses three most important aspects which are affordability, accessibility and reliability.

“This includes the low capital needed to develop this device and it can be produced at a faster rate according to demand,” he said in his speech during the launch in Cyberjaya, Selangor, last Friday.

He added that the semi-ventilator is highly customisable and is designed to lessen medical personnel’s tasks, as they do not have to hold the bag.

Ganesh said it only took seven weeks for his team to create Ethovent, shortly after the Movement Control Order was first implemented in the country on March 18.

The device, which is valued at RM8,500 each, could be used for various respiratory diseases including pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Also present at the launch were Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, Mosti Deputy Minister Ahmad Amzad Hashim, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) CEO Dzuleira Abu Bakar.

Khairy said the usage of semi-ventilator could be expanded to government health clinics, especially in rural areas which do not have access to ventilator machines.

“In fact, Ethovent not just has the potential in Malaysia, but it also could be used overseas, especially in battlefield medicine.

“My ministry, together with the efforts from MaGIC will help accelerate this innovation to actual commercialisation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Adham said his ministry welcomes and very much encourages medical innovations such as Ethovent in the country.

He urged more people, especially the youths, to be innovative and create new products in the medical technology field which will improve access to medical facilities.

“The Health Ministry will be open to provide advice and guidance. We always welcome new ideas that will help solve problems in the medical field,” he said.

Prior to the launch, the semi-ventilator had undergone successful clinical trials at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang, Selangor, and received encouraging feedback from healthcare professionals.

The device has also been earmarked as one of the pilot projects under the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox, which was announced during the short-term National Economic Recovery Plan in June.

Additionally, it has created history by being the first innovative medical device to have passed through special access certification in South-East Asia.

This would enable the device to be produced and exported to different countries that need ventilators.