UNILAG Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association

4th ALUMNI LECTURE : ENGINEERING & PANDEMICS by ENGR ADEBAYO ADEOLA FNAEng

All protocols duly observed.

First acknowledgement goes to Prof. Ogunye and my second recognition goes to the president of NSE Engr. Babagana Muhammed. I will extend my recognition to the host in person of the vice chancellor Prof. Toyin Ogundipe and then to the chairman of the occasion Engr. Dideola Falobi. I welcome the rest of my friends and colleagues to the distinguished lecture and I congratulate Prof. Falade for a succesful tenure as the dean of the faculty of engineering.

In view of the limitation imposed by time and the prevailing situation, my lecture is summarised under the following:

1. EPIDEMICS

  • An Epidemic is the rapid spread of contagious disease over an area or a region. When the area is very large such as a subcontinent, a continent or indeed the whole world, it is called a Pandemic.
  • Recent epidemics in the world include HIV-AIDS, Ebola and SARS. These were generally contained within regions and were not upgraded to pandemics.
  • The viruses causing these diseases are said to have transferred from animals to humans who, not having any resistance to the infection, developed symptoms.
  • From one person who is infected, it spreads to others, and as we now have, to the whole world.

2. COVID-19

  • The current pandemic is COVID-19, and it is transmitted through contact with droplets from and infected person from sneezing, coughing, singing or talking.
  • The symptoms are high temperature, dry cough, tiredness and difficulties in breathing.
  • The peculiarity of COVID-19 is that 80% of those infected either do not show any symptoms or have mild ones; another 15% show serious symptoms and require medical care. Only 5% of those infected have severe symptoms requiring oxygen and hospitalization.
  • Prevention is only by avoiding contact with the droplets of infected persons through wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and frequent hand washing to remove inadvertent contamination.
  • The two measures of prevalence are testing and hospital bed demand.

2.1  GLOBAL TREND

  • Daily Infections: Max 289,182 in one day on 24 July
  • Cumulative Infections: 16,730,000 on July 28

2.2 TRENDS IN US, BRAZIL & INDIA

USA

  • Maximum Infections: 77,978 on 24 July
  • Cumulative Infections : 4,448,504 on 28 July

BRAZIL

  • Maximum Infections: 65,339 on 22 July
  • Cumulative Infections : 2,446,397 on 28 July

INDIA

  • Maximum Infections: 50,525 on 26 July
  • Cumulative Infections : 1,516,738 on 28 July

2.3 TRENDS IN ITALY & UK

ITALY

  • Maximum Infections: 6,553 on 21 March
  • Less than 655 from 23 May

UK

  • Maximum Infections: 5,618 on 01 May
  • Less than 827 from 18 July

2.4 TREND IN NIGERIA

  • Daily Infections: Max: 790 on 01 July
  • Cumulative Infections: 41,180 on 27 July

2.5 TREND IN LAGOS

  • Maximum daily Infections: 378 on 30 May
  • Cumulative Infections : 14,654 on 27 July

 

3. RESPONSES

3.1 TREATMENT

  • Identification & Isolation of infected persons
  • Contact Tracing and Monitoring
  • Testing of those with Symptoms
  • Hospitalisation of the Sick
  • Testing of Drugs and Treatment Protocols
  • Search for Vaccines

3.2 PERSONAL

  • Voluntary Stay at Home
  • Physical Distancing
  • Wearing of Face Masks
  • Frequent Hand Washing
  • Coughing & Sneezing to the Elbow

3.3 GOVERNMENT

  • Closure of Airports
  • Total Lock Down
  • Partial Lock Down
  • Banning of Public Gatherings
  • Quarantine of Potentials

4. IMPACT OF RESPONSES

HEALTHCARE

  • Construction of More Hospitals, Isolation Centers and Testing Laboratories
  • Sourcing of Ventilators and other Critical Equipment

ECONOMIC

  • Suspension of Most Economic Activities
  • Loss of Income and Livelihood
  • A decline in Government Revenue

SOCIAL

  • Restiveness of the Populace
  • Insecurity, Social Vices, etc.
  • People Trapped in Strange Places
  • Emergence of Local & International Donors

5. FRONTLINE PROFESSIONALS

HEALTHCARE

  • Hospitals, Pharmacies and Laboratory Workers
  • Support Services to Healthcare Facilities

SOCIAL

  • Food Production & Distribution
  • Security Personnel
  • Mass Media
  • Social Workers

ECONOMIC

  • Banks
  • Telecoms
  • Utilities (Water & Electricity)

6. ENGINEERING

As A FRONTLINE SERVICE

  • Operations & Maintenance of Engineering Utilities & Equipment in Healthcare Facilities
  • Operations and Maintenance of essential electricity, water and telecoms infrastructures
  • Production of essential equipment such as ventilators
  • Construction of additional healthcare facilities

PRACTICE

  • Operations & Maintenance Functions of essential services are always frontline and remained in service.
  • On-Going Design Activities continued at a significantly reduced pace; New designs were suspended
  • On-going Construction and Manufacturing Services were suspended

LESSONS LEARNT

  • 1000-Bed Hospital was built in ten days in China. Why do building construction projects of the same scale take three years
  • A lot of design work continued on-line. Do we need as much physical meetings as we presently conduct.
  • Significant quantum of on-line learning through webinars

 

CHALLENGES

  • Solving the problem of physical distancing in public transport and classrooms
  • Design response to touching public surfaces –contactless controls for lifts, doors, etc.?
  • HVAC Design response to confined spaces –Non-recirculating air exchange?
  • Video-driven operational guides for engineering equipment
  • Solving the challenges of Contact Tracing through apps development
  • Design of remote supervision of projects with cameras

 

7. CONCLUSION

  • Engineering is a frontline profession in a pandemic as it is responsible not only for the operations and maintenance of the healthcare infrastructures but also for the continuous provision of water, electricity, telecommunications and other utilities necessary for living.
  • However, while some design work can continue during the pandemic, location-specific work such as construction and manufacturing may have to be suspended, depending on the particular mode of transmission of the infection.
  • A lot of learning and operational assistance may be given through webinar as has been adequately demonstrated.
  • Some improvements in design, construction and manufacturing processes were demonstrated during the pandemic, which must be sustained and improved upon,

 

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