Lucknow: India reported its first Covid-19 case on Jan 30 in Kerala and the total number remained at 3 till Feb-end limited to Kerala only.
As the cases grew gradually in March across the nation infecting many doctors and nurses as well, it emerged the country does not have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) and N95 masks to protect its “frontline corona warriors” of the pandemic. Then, some young engineers, locked at home decided to protect healthcare professionals.
“Our doctor friends made desperate calls to ask us to provide anything to help them cover their face in absence of PPEs or poor quality ones,” says Indra nil Chandra, a young innovator, offering the simplest and quickest solution to the crisis of PPEs and masks that is “face-shields”.
Using “Makers Club” platform, a community of innovators/ engineers associated with innovation centres across India, they readied a simple face shield — made up of a headband and a transparent plastic sheet attached to it, offering protection to entire face.
“Makers Asylum in Mumbai and Fretworks in Benguluru were among the first to make the shields. Now, total 15 makers clubs across India have joined hands to ramp up production.
We have produced and distributed over two lakh “M19 shields” to hospitals and police stations across the country for free,” Indranil Chandra, a young Mumbai-based engineer at M19 Collective, told FPJ. “M as a tribute to the maker community and 19 for #Covid19.
Currently, over 15 labs and Maker spaces are part of M19 Collective and we aim to distribute 1 million shields in a month without any cost,” says Chandra. In Mum - bai, M19 shields are sent to JJ gr - o up of hospitals, Nair, Cooper, and other hospitals, says the group.
Procuring raw material, managing logistics “All you need is the OHP or PET Sheets (Over Head Projector or polyethylene ate phthalates or transparent sheets with 175 microns thickness), head gear made of acrylic or foam board, an elastic band and foam sticker.
The items are easily available at local manufacturers, regular suppliers of the makers clubs. The only issue was to get the required permissions to travel, procure raw material and operate the unit which we got easily,” says Vijay Raghav Varada, from the Fraktal Works Bangaluru.
Varada has his own a 3-D printing firm, converted to make shields. Because of local procurement and production, the supply is easy, and cost has come down. Making one shield costs Rs40-70 depending upon city. To offer them for free, the makers has launched a fundraiser (bit.ly/covid19warriors).
Pradip Gadkar of the “Fablab” in Nagpur, say, “We have provided shields to the Govt Medical College Nagpur, Nagpur Municipal Corporation, Wardha hospital, Army Hospital, Railways and rural hospitals and clinics using emergency services passes.” Likewise, Dream works Makerspace, Mangaluru (Karnataka) is helping the Wen - lock, Unity, Yenepoya, Shimoga hospitals and the Commissioner of Police and RPF offices in city