As the world grapples with Covid-19 and hospitals running out of ICU beds, denizens come to the realisation of the importance of medical ventilators in offering patients a chance of survival. Medical ventilators even become tools of diplomacy as countries around the world experience acute shortages.
Amidst Covid-19 and Movement Control Order, Saora Industries saw an opening for social innovation in healthcare. Ethovent, Malaysia’s first-of-a-kind semi-ventilator, was created over a period of seven weeks as an economical solution for healthcare providers.
Saora Industries was established in August 2014 with the mission to touch and uplift lives through technology by providing green energy and clean drinkable water that is economically and environmentally sustainable where it is needed. Among which is a smart solar-powered portable water purification system capable of purifying any source water into safe drinking water. The system incorporates IOT features, providing early notification for preventive maintenance.
Prior to the official launch of Ethovent in the presence of Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, and Malaysia Global Innovation and Creativity Centre CEO Dzuleira Abu Bakar, the semi-ventilator underwent successful clinical trials at Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital. Ethovent is the first medical device to have passed through special access certification in Southeast Asia. The exemption enables Ethovent to be produced and exported. It has been earmarked as one of the pilot projects under the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox.
“At the moment, we have a half tick for certification because we have applied for a special access certification during a pandemic. The validity is for one year. During this one year, while delivering our products, we will go for full certification,” Saora Industries founder and CEO Ganesh Muren said at the launch.
“After the prototype was completed, we engaged the Health Ministry. They gave us a letter for clinical evaluation trials at Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital. The semi-ventilator was even used in an operation for six hours. We used it in a dental surgery and on various patients. We saw from the clinical evaluation report that doctors were happy with it. It was evaluated by 14 individuals comprising consultant surgeons, medical officers and medical assistants.
“There are two standards we follow in the development of this product – the Malaysian anaesthesiology standard of ventilation and the American standard.
“As a social enterprise, we want to live our lives with purpose, by making a wholesome and lasting impact. In the entire build-up and commercialisation of the social enterprise (Ethovent), we have committed that 90% of our staff will be from polytechnic schools. We want to absorb them to work on this project, to get them into the IOT-based advancement.
“We are going to make Ethovent open source. We want to make sure the design, blueprint and software are accessible to more than 190 countries.”