Help needed for face shields

Volunteers packing the materials to be distributed to other volunteers in Kinrara and Balakong to make face shields for medical frontliners at the Serdang hospital.

WITH the shortage of personal protective equipment for medical frontliners, numerous organisations and individuals have stepped up to volunteer their time to make the items.

One of the much-needed equipment is the face shield.

In Selangor, a group of over 100 volunteers has made 1,000 face shields and donated them to Serdang Hospital.

The DIY face shield project was initiated by Kinrara assemblyman Ng Sze Han with the help of Kinrara and Balakong Action units members.

The volunteers worked tirelessly to produce those 1,000 face shields within a day.

Ng is appealing to the public to donate materials for face shields for frontline medical staff.

“With the increase of Covid-19 cases, medical personnel are facing a shortage of face shields and masks. So, we want to do our bit to help.

“Aided by the two groups, we were able to get more than 100 volunteers to lend a hand, from purchasing materials and making the face shields to delivering them to the hospital, ” he said.

He explained that among the materials needed were A4 plastic sheets, elastic bands, sponges, double-sided tape, label stickers and staples.

“These items are usually easy to get but during the movement control order (MCO), stationery shops are closed so that makes it difficult to obtain.

“Hence we sourced the materials from businesses that we know of but they were only enough for the first batch of face shields, ” he added.

Ng, who is also the Selangor Local Government, Public Transportation and New Village Development state executive councillor, said they hope to make 15,000 face shields for distribution to hospitals in Selangor.

“We have received requests from other hospitals, hence we hope people are able to donate the materials to enable us to produce more face shields.

“The 100-plus volunteers are able to make 2,000 face shields in a day, ” he said.

Kinrara Action Unit head Yap Chee Ming, who is also Serdang Hospital Board of Visitors member, said the project proceeded after getting the hospital’s green light and volunteers followed a video guide from the hospital to make the face shields.

“At first, we only managed to find a few businesses to provide the materials, but after word spread, we began receiving more materials and volunteers.

“Since the Covid-19 outbreak, people have been staying at home in compliance with the MCO but they want to contribute, ” added Yap.

Head of Balakong Action Unit, Lee Khai Ming said only a few people went out to get the materials for all the other volunteers who stayed home to make the shields.

“The volunteers who had to go out took the necessary safety precautions. They distributed the materials to the three section leaders who then passed them to the volunteers, to minimise contact.”

He said the face shields were only for single use. As more people learned of the project, many came forth to volunteer and more public hospitals requested for the equipment. “We received overwhelming support as many want to play a role for the country.

“If there are more requests from hospitals for the face shields, we will continue to help, ” said Lee.

The volunteer teams are in need of PVC in A4 size (210mm x 297mm thickness 0.2mm rigid sheet), elastic tape (12-20mm width), sponge (25mm thick), foam double-sided tape of 20mm width, sticker label and A3 paper.For details, contact William Phang (012-209 5959) or Nicole Ng (012-213 0012).

Meanwhile over in Ipoh, NGO Ipoh City Watch (ICW) also made about 1,000 face shields and distributed them to medical frontliners in the city.

ICW president Dr Richard Ng said he and several others made the face shields over three days and delivered them to the Kinta Health Department and Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital as a token of appreciation to those fighting the pandemic daily.

Ng said members from ICW, Lions Club of Perak and several Good Samaritans contributed cash and materials needed to make the item.

“Some helped us to buy the materials and cut the plastic sheets.

“I made a video clip and shared it with those who wanted to contribute and help make the shields.

“It is not easy sitting idle at home as many people may become restless and their anxiety level will surely increase, ” he said.

He explained that he was inspired to make the face shields after doing some research on coronavirus and learned to make the protective equipment from a video on Youtube.

“There have been many cases of medical frontliners getting infected with Covid-19. They need protective gear, otherwise they risk getting infected.

“The shield protects the wearer’s face from spray of droplets, fluid and chemicals in a medical facility or laboratory, ” he said.

“We will make more face shields if the need arises, provided that we get the financial support and materials, ” he added.

Ng also hopes that more NGOs in Perak can help to make the face shields, as the number of new Covid-19 cases in the state was increasing.

“The cases are rising at an average rate of between 6% and 15%.

“Two districts in Perak, which are Kinta and Hilir Perak, have already been declared as red zone areas, ” he added.

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