As part of continuous measures to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, sixteen (16) international standards on essential electro-medical equipment were recently adopted by the Nigerian National Mirror/Technical Committee on Electromedical Equipment.

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Addressing the committee to declare the virtual meeting open, Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma Esq. posited that there are increasing demands globally for the production and consumption of quality, safe and dependable medical equipment and systems in their varied brands.

This according to him, is in response to the emergency demands foisted on medical systems globally which has consequently challenged National Standards development bodies to ensure the availability of standards in order to continuously save lives.

Represented by the Director, Standards Development, Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, the SON Chief Executive stated that the sixteen International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)/International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) standards have become global requirements in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to him, the global workplace has been drastically altered necessitating that the meeting is conducted virtually for safety and in compliance with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)’s directive on social distancing as a measure to mitigate further spread of the dangerous Coronavirus.

He reiterated the sensitivity of the medical sector for reasons of safety, precision of equipment, functionalities and value for money in the face of the global health and economic challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and expressed deep appreciation for the Committee members’ contributions and sacrifices

Aboloma assured the Committee of SON’s commitment to continuously guarantee availability of standards, creation of awareness and promotion of strict implementation and compliance in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and regulatory authorities.

He stated that the development and subsequent implementation and enforcement of the 16 standards when approved by the Standards Council, would among others, encourage and support local production of medical devices, equipment and systems; provide the necessary benchmark to adjudge imported medical equipment in the category; assure compliance to medical safety standards in terms of performance, reliability, accuracy/precision, patients’ safety, precise communication protocol with other medical devices as well as handlers’ safety.

The SON Chief Executive enumerated other benefits of the adopted standards as including to support research and developments in the electromedical equipment and systems in Nigeria; create fair playing ground for all related medical equipment produced locally and imported into the Nigerian markets as well as promote greater competitiveness of locally manufactured and imported electromedical equipment.

Commenting on the sixteen IEC/ISO standards, Chairman of the National Mirror/Technical Committee, Dr Ayodele Esan pledged the members’ commitment to ensuring the best for the Nation in the consideration of the standards.

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He assured the SON, DG that the rich knowledge and experiences of the Mirror/Technical Committee members would be brought to bear in the deliberations, stressing that the wide representation of stakeholders at the meeting is a pointer to how seriously they view the assignment.

Dr Esan stated that the adoption of the international standards would enhance local production of electro-medical equipment and provide a strong basis for regulation.

According to him some of the electromedical equipment standards considered included for critical care ventilators, Electromagnetic disturbances, usability, environmentally conscious design, medical electrical systems used in the home healthcare and support equipment for ventilatory impairment among others

Stakeholders represented at the technical meeting include Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Nigerian Society of Engineers, Manufacturers of Electromedical Equipment, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), the Academia and other experts from around the country with the SON providing secretariat support services.