For his ingenuity in the mass production of ventilators to boost the country’s National Health System (NHS) against the coronavirus pandemic, the United Kingdom (UK) Cabinet Office has described a Nigerian Information Technology Consultant, Victor Osagie, as one of Britain’s best.
Osagie’s team delivered the quality control system that rapidly converted disused warehouses into assembly lines, and swiftly converted Ford Motors’ vehicle production lines and Airbus’ aircraft production lines into ventilator production lines.
Following that ingenuity, they produced over 14,000 ventilators within a 90-day period, which boosted the NHS’ ventilator-capacity from less than 9,000 pre-Covid-19 to over 25,000 in July 2020.
In a letter jointly endorsed by all partners, including Ford and Airbus, Osagie was commended for his role in the just concluded ventilator challenge project, an initiative of the cabinet office.
It read: “Thank you for your invaluable contribution to our ventilator challenge UK team. As we battled together to save lives threatened by Covid-19, your energy, ingenuity and camaraderie made a tremendous difference. You are a shining example of the best UK has to offer.”
For the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the ventilator challenge has proven how much Britain could achieve when confronted with difficult problems. He said: “Bringing together the best minds in manufacturing, innovation and design was a right decision.
“Thanks to your effort, everyone who needs a ventilator had access to one. And the NHS has the vital machines needed to continue providing life-saving support against the deadly virus.”
Similarly, Health and Social-care Secretary, Matt Hancook, noted: “We protected the NHS during this global pandemic. The impact of Covid-19 showed the best and the brightest stepping forward to serve their country. The response the government received to this challenge was astonishing.”
Looking forward, a former director at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Gabriel Ehilebo, said the likes of Osagie would be value added assets if Nigeria could get them to work with its economic sustainability committee to robustly respond to the challenges of the pandemic in the country.
On his part, Osagie advised the Nigerian Government to redirect educational resources to producing medical personnel in doctors and nurses, as well as information technology consultants, that could be exported all over the world to earn foreign exchange.
He stressed that such development could provide a cheap source of skills enhancement for such personnel, who could subsequently return home to provide world class services, while addressing some of Nigeria’s graduate unemployment challenges.