CUT’s innovative project to combat COVID-19 pandemic impress Free State Premier
The Premier of the Free State, Sisi Ntombela and Members of the Executive Council visited the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), on 14 April 2020, to assess the university’s research and innovation efforts in response to government’s call for support in the fight against the scourge of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Premier Ntombela said that she was impressed by how much further ahead the province was technologically, after a demonstration of the projects currently being undertaken by CUT, including a tour of the Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) Laboratory, which is currently producing 3D non-invasive ventilation printing masks for use by COVID-19 patients, as well as much-needed hospital equipment, such as oxygen connectors and splitters.
FS Health MEC, Montseng Tsiu; FS Premier, Sisi Ntombela; FS Finance MEC, Gadija Brown; with CUT's Dr Gerrie Booysen, Director: Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) and Mr Allan Kinnear, Project Engineer: Medical Devices at Product Development Technology Station (PDTS).
She added that the province was blessed to have locally manufactured sanitisers produced by the CUT’s post-graduate students and academics in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences. “We have been inundated with offers from companies selling sanitisers at abnormal prices. But today we know that we have our own, that can assist us at a reasonable amount of money,” said Ntombela.
FS MEC for Health, Montseng Tsiu commended CUT for an appreciable support it has received from CUT. “What is good about this is that the people that are doing this are our very own children from the Free State, and that makes us feel proud. This will that will put the Free State on the map. So, let’s work together and make sure that we save the lives of our people,” said Tsiu.
FS Finance MEC Gadija Brown, added that they are using the challenge of the pandemic to empower the youth in the province. “Our EXCO is trying to really be proactive in the sense of ensuring that we have sufficient equipment to mitigate the challenges that we might foresee over the next two to three weeks. We were very excited about the work that the CUT has been doing, not only because it is situated in Mangaung, the epicentre of the pandemic in the province, but also for the fact that we have Free Staters and young people being able to lead the development of these devices,” said Brown.
The PDTS and CRPM are also assisting in manufacturing much-needed hospital equipment.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof. Henk de Jager added that some of the assistance offered by the university included donations. “Even before the lockdown we realised that this is a major international crisis and we mobilised our expertise, and our state-of-the-art equipment and it is for that reason that our researchers came together to work on the various projects in order to assist our community. As the university we have committed 1 million rand to the COVID-19 research and innovation fund for CUT, and it is through that fund that we can donate the one hundred and fifty bottles of sanitiser to help our community,” concluded Prof. de Jager.
Caption (main picture)
1. Front (from left to right): FS Health MEC, Montseng Tsiu; FS Premier, Sisi Ntombela; FS Finance MEC, Gadija Brown; FS MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development: William Bulwane. Back: CUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof. Henk de Jager; CUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Resources and Operations, Dr Gary Paul and CUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Alfred Ngowi.Uploaded: 16 April 2020
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