The Department of Mechatronics Engineering of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, has manufactured a ventilator and smart hand washer as part of efforts geared toward combating COVID-19 pandemic.

Prof. Kazeem Adebiyi, the Rector of the institution, showcased the machines to newsmen in Ibadan on Thursday.

According to him, the feat was possible with the support of the government of Oyo State that released an accreditation grant for the institution.

He said the last time the institution got fund to develop its programmes and made meaningful contributions to technology development in the country was in 2009.

Adebiyi said: “When we received the letter of accreditation that we passed all our programmes for accreditation. It was a joyful thing.

“It was an accreditation for 13 programmes and we passed all.

“Also, we did three professional accreditations which we passed and that looked like magic to anybody. How are we able to achieve that?, they wondered.

“We had the support of the government. That is our strategy and that is why we need to really appreciate the government.

“This is because when we looked at the records, the last time the institution benefited from such a grant was in 2009 and was the last time we received an accreditation grant from the government.”

He said that from the grant received, the Mechatronics Engineering Department, was able to come up with TPI Mechanical Ventilator 2020 and TPI Smart Hand Washer, which would automatically release soap, water and dry the hand.

“These and other equipment acquired have earned the department the opportunity to start its Higher National Diploma (HND) programme as certified by the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE).

“We have been on this to secure approval for this programme for like two years because we did have the adequate equipment required and now that we have got it,’’ Adebiyi said.

The rector noted that the institution had supported the government in combating COVID-19, hence the technology solutions developed.

“When the issue of pandemic started, we put heads together that this is the citadel of technological innovation and then we should be seen as such.

“We started with the common needs and you can see this mask was produced here, then sanitisers and we went into producing this automated hand washing machine and then ventilator.

“The ventilator was tested at the University College Hospital (UCH) because we work with experts from UCH to get the ventilator.

“They were satisfied with its performance as it was tested with manique, which we don’t have but they have it there and they certified the performance of the ventilator,” he noted.

Adebiyi, however, enjoined other institutions to look inward and support the government to provide equipment needed in the fight against coronavirus.

He urged the government to go for local solutions which were cheap and affordable, saying that the ventilator was produced with the sum of N2 million as against N20 million the equipment was being sold.

Also, Mr Kamorudeen Olaiya, Head of Department of Mechatronics Engineering, who led the team of researchers that produced the machines, said it was a collective effort that eventually paid off.

Olaiya said the institution would then admit students for the 2019/2020 academic session once schools were opened.

“The department was first established in 2010 but we got accredited in 2011.

“The team of lecturers, technologists and some of our students in the department fabricated these machines with the help of a consultant at UCH to help in the fight against COVID-19,” Olaiya said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the rector in company of other management staff led newsmen round some of the departments of the institution to showcase developments achieved with the grants.

Other achievements include the provision and upscaling of television studio, public relations and advert resource centre, photo studio in the Department of Mass Communication with the proposed Polytechnic of Ibadan Radio otherwise known as Poly Rays.

Also, there was procurement of teaching equipment for the Department of Geology and Civil Engineering, among others.