Morocco has begun manufacturing its own ventilators, its industry ministry told Reuters on Friday.
Five hundred ventilators with oxygen masks are due to be produced by the middle of April, the ministry said. The coronavirus pandemic has led to a shortage of ventilators worldwide.
Over 1,430 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Morocco, with 105 deaths. The North African country currently only has 1,640 intensive care beds but is trying to raise this number to 3,000, according to Reuters.
Morocco has approximately 140 suppliers of aeronautic components, employing over 10,000 people. These are the companies being asked by the Industry Ministry to develop and manufacture the ventilators.
Both non-invasive and invasive ventilators will be produced, according to the ministry. Non-invasive ventilators work through an oxygen mask placed on the patient's face, while invasive ones feed oxygen straight to a patient’s lungs through a tube.
Moroccan doctors and engineers have helped design a non-invasive ventilator, which has been approved by the Health Ministry and is already in production. They are now working on an invasive ventilator.
"We use locally supplied material available here and we will continue to produce ventilators depending on Morocco's needs," Badre Jaafar, the director of SERMP, a company which supplies components to French aircraft engine maker Safran, told Reuters.
The Moroccan government has set aside $200 million for the purchase of equipment and medicine to deal with the coronavirus crisis. It has already imposed a lockdown.
Last year Moroccan aeronautics suppliers exported $1.58 billion of parts to aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus.
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