Notes & Essays

E-mail Sparks Production of Makeshift Face Shields for Frontliners

Volunteers across the country are doing their part in helping out our medical heroes.
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It began with an e-mail.

Operation Shield Our Frontliners started over the weekend after Dr. Sandy Cabral Prodigalidad sent an e-mail to a friend seeking acetate sheets. They were to be used for makeshift face shields to protect doctors and other hospital workers from the threat of COVID-19. With the threat of the virus being around for an extended period of time, she wanted to make sure there were enough supplies stockpiled for the hospital frontliners.

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Prodigalidad said there were medical students on standby to put the face shields together, but the sourcing of materials was a task they had found to be extremely difficult, with office supplies stores closed due to the community quarantine.

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That e-mail led to one phone call and then another, and within minutes, an ad-hoc group of friends and soon-to-be-friends was put together via WhatsApp.

Prodigalidad and Dr. Jayjay Victoriano Germar explained what was needed, makeshift patterns were put together, and samples were shown to the doctors step-by-step.

Once the design was approved, the sourcing began. One friend was quickly able to source sheets of PVC, another, foam, still another, the double-sided tape to put the two together. A garter supplier came on board to provide the strap. Materials were all delivered to a central hub, the home of another volunteer.

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A communications expert tapped her network of volunteers in different hubs to cut the acetate and put together the masks, hundreds a day.

 

A day and a half later, another volunteer took charge of delivering the beautiful finished products to frontliners at city hospitals. 

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So far, Operation Shield Our Frontliners has collected materials to produce 7,000 such face shields.

Meanwhile, a group of architects used 3D printers to create frames for another type of face shield, while an engineer developed a prototype for a shield that could be reused.

 

 

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Another member of the group donated hundreds of swim goggles for the doctors to use as eye protection beneath the shields. Other plastic goggles were sourced from different suppliers.

 

 

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Another group provided plastic sheets to act as dividers in the triage sections and isolation wards at hospitals.

A diaper manufacturer has offered adult diapers for medical workers who cannot remove their hazard suits for hours at a time.

She’s also been going around the city sourcing eyewear, surgical masks, hazmat suits, and other PPEs, personally picking them up from warehouses.

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So far, aside from the face shields, donations have covered 3,700 paper face masks, 1300 hazmat suits, and hundreds of goggles. 

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More anonymous volunteers have come in to handle logistics, accounting, and fundraising.

Operation Shield Our Frontliners is just one of many, many volunteer groups across the country, each doing a small part in helping protect our nation’s heroes, the doctors, nurses, and other medical workers in this pandemic.

It is now Day Five for the team and the work continues.

It all began with an e-mail.


UPDATE:


As of April 20, 2020, Shield Our Frontliners has procured and distributed, primarily to Philippine General Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the following:

31,400 KN95 masks
5,811 bunny suits
3,700 ready-made face shields
3,000 goggles
600 Hazmat DuPont/Tyvek protective suits
4,800 toiletry kits
12,464 makeshift face shields made by volunteer hubs (the group’s original initiative)

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Yvette Fernandez
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