VCUarts Qatar produces face shields for infants
In another praiseworthy initiative to protect the community against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Qatar Foundation’s (QF) partner university, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) has worked on producing face shields for infants in Qatar.
Aimed at “protecting the tiniest of lives,” the initiative adds to VCUarts Qatar’s earlier efforts to support Qatar’s fight against the virus.
Protecting vulnerable groups of people from contracting COVID-19 has remained a challenge for healthcare professionals globally – especially when some of them barely weigh 3kg.
In the last week of Ramadan, a senior consultant in Neonatal Intensive Care and medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Dr Mai Al Qubaisi found herself looking for ways to protect the tiny tots at the unit from contracting COVID-19.
“When I learned that some mothers – whose newly born babies were in the NICU – had tested positive for the virus, my first response was to ensure the safety of their infants,” Dr Al Qubaisi said.
She said she initially thought about importing wearable equipment to protect the infants, as they were being held and bottle-fed by their mothers and caregivers. However, after searching online and failing to find anything that would serve the purpose, she was driven to find another solution.
She reached out to Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) who put her in touch with VCUarts Qatar, and the university’s fabrication coordinator Chris Buchakjian and the FabLab team.
Since time was of utmost essence in this scenario, VCUarts Qatar designers decided to meet Dr Al Qubaisi the earliest possible.
“It was the day before the start of the Eid break when I first met with Chris to discuss measurements and designs,” she mentioned.
“So, I assumed that the masks would be ready only after the Eid break. But, much to my amazement, Chris and his team not only said they would help design and deliver the masks, but that they would also work over the Eid break and have them ready as soon as possible.
“And they did; I had the first batch of infant face shields, around two dozen of them, delivered to me on the second day of the Eid holidays.”
Buchakjian and the FabLab team used infant-sized dolls supplied by VCUarts Qatar’s Health and Safety department.
“We succeeded in manufacturing and delivering 100 infant face shields in just a few days because the people and resources were already in place,” he says. “And we’re preparing to produce more.
These face shields are already in use by infants at some HMC NICUs.
For any queries, or concerns related to COVID-19 in Qatar, the public can contact a 24/7 hotline set up by the Ministry. The hotline number is 16000 and is toll-free.
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Cover and Inline Images Credit: Twitter/@VCUQatar