News Release - 20 May, 2021

Dunedin based SouthMED Ltd to send ventilator hoods to Nepal


A consignment of Dunedin-invented and manufactured respiratory hoods leaves within days bound for hospitals in Nepal that are facing a COVID crisis. "Nepal is experiencing the severity of the more familiar Indian situation, but without the same world attention helping to channel resources its way. The daily death toll per capita in Nepal currently is similar to the total death toll per capita experienced by New Zealand due to Covid-19 and we are just pleased we can help with this gesture" said SouthMED’s chairman, Mark Seaton.

The group of Dunedin professionals who formed SouthMED Ltd and invented a respiratory hood during New Zealand’s COVID alert level-four lockdown are thrilled that their efforts are going to help COVID patients in Nepal, a country that New Zealand has close ties with.

The group was originally asked by Minister David Parker whether they could develop a respiratory hood when New Zealand was facing an uncertain COVID pathway and in the absence of available supply from overseas. "It really was a story of professionals in our community coming together and working long hours during the lockdown period - by combining skills, tools, knowledge and networks, we managed to develop and validate the product and be prepared for production within weeks" said Mr Seaton.

Since then, and with New Zealand managing to contain the virus, SouthMED has further improved the product, and turned its attention to the rest of the world. To respond to the significant shortage of oxygen supplies faced by many countries, an innovative addition to the product cuts oxygen use. "Providing a positive pressure non-invasive ventilation solution that minimises the use of oxygen while maintaining the advantages of reduced mortality risk, reduced length of treatment and a high level of infection control compared with mask-based options provides considerable benefits in a COVID scenario" explains Mr Seaton.

Philanthropic funding from well known businessman Cliff Cook, supported development of the hoods (named the Suzy Hood) and his ongoing support has enabled the hoods to be donated to the National Innovation Centre in Nepal for distribution to hospitals there.

For further information, please contact Mark Seaton, Chair, SouthMED Ltd, telephone 027 212 5655 or email enquiries@southmed.co.nz.