In the eastern Afghan city of Herat, 18-year-old high school student Somaya Faruqi adjusts a suction cap as she puts the finishing touches before unveiling a low-cost, lightweight ventilator created by her and six other young women.
The all-female Afghan Robotics Team, which has won international awards for its robots, started work in March on an open-source, low-cost ventilator as the coronavirus pandemic hit the war-torn nation.
It took the team almost four months to finalize the ventilator, which is partly based on a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) design, and they received guidance from experts at Harvard University.
Photo: Reuters 照片：路透
The device is easy to carry, can run on battery power for 10 hours and costs around US$700 (approx. NT$21,000) to produce, compared with the US$20,000 price of a traditional ventilator.
Although the ventilator still has to undergo final testing from health authorities before it can be used, officials welcome it in a country with only 800 ventilators, to treat the fast-growing number of coronavirus cases in a health system damaged by decades of war.
Health Ministry spokesman Akmal Samsor said once the ventilators were approved they would be rolled out in Afghan hospitals and the design shared with the World Health Organization.
Afghanistan has recorded 36,710 COVID-19 cases and 1,283 deaths, though experts warn that the true count is probably far higher due to low testing rates.
1. ventilator n. 呼吸器 (hu1 xi1 qi4)
2. robotics n. 機器人學 (ji1 qi4 ren2 xue2)
3. war-torn phr. 飽受戰火摧殘的 (bao3 shou4 zhan4 huo3 cui1 can2 de5)
4. device n. 裝置 (zhuang1 zhi4)
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