'We have already manufactured 1,000 face shields and provided over 600 of them to doctors, health staff, and other individuals'
Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (SAU) has manufactured reusable face shields for doctors and health workers with support from Brac to curb the spread of coronavirus infections.
Dr Abul Hasnat M Solaiman, assistant professor at the Department of Horticulture, said: “We have already manufactured 1,000 face shields and provided over 600 of them to doctors, health staff, and other individuals.”
This face shield is a unique hygienic equipment to save the whole face without the need to wear separate parts like mask and goggles.
He said: “We are working in the digital fabrication lab under the Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP) with financial and technical support from the Brac Social Innovation Lab (SIL).”
Deputy Manager of Brac Social Innovation Nishat Tasnim said an agreement was signed between BRAC SIL and SAU Fabrication lab (FAB LAB) in March of this year.
Rakib Avi, program coordinator of SIL and the Executive Director's Office, said: “We provided RAW materials after taking approval from the Directorate General of Healthcare Services(DGHS).”
He further said: “Due to lack of quality protective equipment our workers [doctors] cannot work properly in the field. So, we contacted and formed an agreement with SAU to provide some proto-type which led to the manufacture of the face shields.
“We have a plan to work with other institutions including Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET) to produce more hygiene equipment needed during the ongoing situation,” added Rakib Avi.
He said: "Initially we have collected 500 face shields and will soon collect 1,000 more. We provided the shields to our health workers and lab technicians who are working in the frontline.”
A four-member team led by Prof Dr Abul Hasnat M Solaiman was formed under the HEQEP earlier this year after soaring numbers of coronavirus infections in Wuhan province of China.
Other members of the team include Associate Prof Dr Kamrun Nahar Nijhum, Associate Prof Dr Ayesha Akhter Akhi, and Project Trainer SM Anamul Arefin, who worked hard to manufacture reusable plastic face shields to curb coronavirus infections.
On March 20, the team started working and designing the face shields in the FAB LAB with support from Brac SIL, said Project Director Abul Hasnat M Solaiman.
A digital FAB LAB is equipped with three-dimensional printers (3D printer), laser cutters, a computer numerical control (CNC) routers, vinyl plotters, and printed circuit board milling (PCB milling) machines, which are used for cutting various hard materials, such as wood, aluminium, steel, plastics, glass, and foams.
This kind of lab makes it possible to produce a lot of necessary materials with a little bit of technique.
Over hundreds of doctors, health workers, and individuals have so far collected the face shields, which cost Tk450 each, said the project director.
However, they are working and designing disinfection gates and chambers to offer a permanent solution for preventing the spread of the virus.
The owner of garments factories, education institutions, hospitals, shopping malls, houses, and offices can use this disinfection material.
He said, several garment factories were making protective suits, masks, gloves, shoe covers, and head-covers as personal protective equipment (PPE), but goggles and face shields were the difficult ones to make and no one took the initiative to produce them locally yet.