Projotne Canvas at a glance
- Projotne Canvas was formed by 15 former Buet students in May 2020
- The team has already set up 9 centralised oxygen plants at different hospitals
- Work to install such systems in two more hospitals is currently in progress
- Instead of the usual cost of Tk34-40 lakh, their systems cost only Tk6-8 lakh
- It can also be extended to other parts of the hospitals at a later time
- Their donors include Ispahani Group and Manusher Jonno Foundation
Oxygen supply can be a lifesaver for Covid-19 patients, but the lack of centralised oxygen supply systems at hospitals across the country became painfully apparent when the novel coronavirus infections began steadily rising in May.
During these trying times, 15 young engineers from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) came forward with their expertise to serve the people amid the pandemic.
Under the banner of their charity organisation "Projotne Canvas," the former Buet students of 2006 batch have installed centralised oxygen plants in nine hospitals throughout Bangladesh at a fraction of the usual cost.
They are currently also in the process of installing two more plants at the Noakhali General Hospital and SK hospital in Mymensingh.
The objective of Projotne Canvas is to use a large High Pressure Gas Cylinder or Liquid Mega Cylinder to create a small centralised oxygen supply system, which can easily deliver oxygen to patients in bed or in ICUs (intensive care units).
The team developed the small oxygen supply systems by using their customised design. Oxygen lines are installed in 25-30 beds of Covid-19 dedicated hospitals so that the system can be installed quickly and affordably.
Such systems can also be extended to other parts of the hospitals at a later time
In conversation with The Business Standard, Projotne Canvas' Project Coordinator Mithun Raha said, "Ensuring the supply of oxygen was a huge problem in hospitals when we started working. Many patients were dying due to a shortage of oxygen supply.
"We thought that if we could solve the problem regarding oxygen supply from our end, then it would not only be a solution for the Covid-19 situation, but also for other times as well. This is a permanent upgrade for the hospitals. People will benefit from this system for years to come."
Many people had previously believed that a centralised oxygen supply system could not be installed at a hospital without spending at least Tk35-40 lakh.
But Projotne Canvas has dispelled this misconception by setting up centralised oxygen plants in different hospitals at a cost of onlyTk6-8 lakh for each system.
Projotne Canvas commenced its journey with the launch of a centralised oxygen plant at the Chittagong Field Hospital in May. In the beginning, the Canvas team proposed setting up such plants in various hospitals, but they did not understand what their work was about.
The Chittagong Field Hospital was the first to respond to their proposal. Since then, they have set up centralised oxygen plants from district level hospitals to medical college hospitals. As a result of their work, the hospitals managed to supply high flow oxygen to Covid-19 patients.
Dr Arshad Ullah, superintendent of the 250-bed District Hospital in Manikganj, said, "Before setting up the centralised oxygen plant, we had to move many oxygen cylinders around for Covid-19 patients.
"This was a difficult task for the hospital staff, and the patients suffered as well. Following the installation of the centralised oxygen supply system in our hospital, portable oxygen cylinders are no longer necessary."
"The 23 Covid-19 patients currently undergoing treatment at our hospital are getting uninterrupted oxygen supply," he added.
Covid-19 patients with cancer are being treated at the Cancer Society Hospital in Dhaka, and Projotne Canvas has set up a centralised oxygen plant there as well.
Initially, the team itself would try to set up oxygen plants by contacting various hospitals. But now that people are aware of their work, many hospital authorities are also getting in touch with them.
Although they have set up oxygen plants in three hospitals with their own funds, they are now working with the help of donors.
Ispahani Group, Manusher Jonno Foundation and Child Health Awareness Foundation are their institutional donors. They have received a fund commitment of around Tk1 crore from the donors.
Projotne Canvas contacts its donors for funds when a hospital wants the team to install a centralised oxygen supply plant.
The organisation, which came together in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, does not yet have an office. But the team has plans to set up a charity foundation in the near future.
Spelling out more details, Project Coordinator Mithun Raha said, "We want to use our expertise to create a charity foundation which will provide technical or engineering support for the betterment of people.
"We are trying to set up water purification plants in villages suffering from arsenic contamination."
"We want to work in areas where we can utilise our professional skills. We don't want to form a traditional charity foundation. We want to use our expertise. We think it will be the biggest contribution from us."
Projotne Canvas has installed the system in Chittagong Field Hospital, Manikganj 250-bed Hospital, Chattogram Maa-O-Shishu Hospital, Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and infectious Diseases (BITID), Hathazari Upazila Health Complex, Chakaria Upazila Health Complex, Khulna Medical College Hospital, Khulna Diabetic Hospital and Cancer Society Hospital in Dhaka.