Fashion designer Mich Dulce and her team in Manila created the first medically-reviewed open source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suit design to help with the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage that doctors and frontliners are facing in fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The Facebook group Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies (OSCMS), formed "to evaluate, design, validate, and source the fabrication of open source emergency medical supplies around the world, given a variety of local supply conditions" amid COVID-19 pandemic reviewed the suit design that Dulce and team created.
Dulce announced the good news her Facebook page on Thursday morning.
The designer and her team "reverse engineered" an existing isolation suit design lent to them by Vice President Leni Robredo.
They turned it into a pattern and created an instructional PDF file on how others can also make it.
One of the members of their team, Alex Crease from Boston, created a graphic image design to be used for machine cutting.
Gui Cavalcanti, an administrator of the OSCMS group also posted an announcement to confirm that it was medically-reviewed.
"We are excited to announce that we have our first medically-reviewed open source suit design!!! The Open Source Medical Supplies medical team has reviewed this gown design, and suggests you make it out of the Tyvek 1433R (i.e. thin and flexible covering) you would find in any hardware store," he wrote.
Dulce encouraged all designers to standardize the suits based on the specifications they had set out.
According to Dulce, the suits have "minimal seams" because it will make the garment more penetrable because of needle holes, thus she suggested "the less seams the better."
For those who planning to produce the suit, Dulce noted that they should read through the techpack for full construction details based on the kind of machine they have.
"Please let's volt in!!! And let's try get hold of as much Tyvek as we can!!!!!" he wrote.
The group is also calling for material donations to create the open source suits.
- water repellant fabrics such as umbrella/raincoat material, poly microfiber and taffeta
- non woven material 50 gsm up
- zippers of 26'' or longer, or continuous zipper
- garter/ elastic 1/4 inch thick
- twill tape/ribbon 1/4 inch thick
- manila paper (for pattern replication)?
The Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club, which Dulce organized, is also accepting monetary donations.
According to Dulce, they are "emphasizing the centralizing of the suits for distribution via Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club's initiative with the Office Of The Vice President so that they are delivered with the transparency that these are not medical grade suits and can be distributed accordingly."
After the government was criticized for failing to provide healthcare workers with PPE, the Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire explained the lack of PPE supplies amid the COVID-19 pandemic is due to global shortage.
But plenty have stepped in. Doctors and volunteers in Baguio have also started making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) alternative due to the shortage of supplies.
Some folks from Technological University of the Philippines - Visayas (TUPV) are planning to create PPEs for health workers in Negros with the use of a 3D printer, while medical interns at Ateneo have been producing face shields for COVID-19 frontliners.
As of Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continued to rise after DOH confirmed 84 new infections, bringing the total to 636. — Jannielyn Ann Bigtas/LA, GMA News