The heroes behind the scenes amid Covid-19

Some members of Sarawak Covid-19 3D Printers Union.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Apr 2: Sarawak Covid-19 3D Printers Union has supplied 2,200 free face shields to medical personnel since they began production Mar 24.

This civilian ad hoc volunteer group made up of different individuals from across Sarawak came together in a time of need to produce face shields for front liners after being informed that the shortage was so great that medical personnel had to spend what little time they had making their own personal protection equipment (PPE).

“I had contact with a specialist doctor in the emergency who told me that they had to do DIY (Do it yourself) their own PPE.

“To me, that is not right. They should spend their precious time treating patients and not trying to do DIY,” the union’s spokesperson Alexander Tong, who is also the prime mover of the movement, told DayakDaily.

Noticing the great need in face shields, Tong started the whole movement by going to a 3D printer page on social media and asking if anyone would be interested to chip in their resources to help.

“Slowly, others responded and we managed to put together a group. Now, we have a team in Kuching, Miri, Sibu and Bintulu respectively.”

“University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) also helps as it has high-tech machines.

“Sibu, which is the strongest team, can produce about 300 face shields per day. Miri, about 150, while Kuching and Bintulu less than 100 each day.

“We are only producing face shields and we supply to district hospitals, clinics and of course, other big hospitals such as Kuching General Hospital, Sibu General Hospital and Miri General Hospital.

“So far, the greatest needs are coming from SGH and Miri Hospital,” said Tong.

Tong said the group got the idea from news reports where 3D printers in countries in Europe and the US voluntarily helped produce the face shields to provide for the much lacking front liners.

Since starting the movement, Tong said the group has been maintaining contacts with hospitals and clinics.

“When we first contacted them, they asked us for quotations. We told them we did it for free. They seemed to be quite happy when we handed over to them the face shields.”

By now, there is also a standard operation procedure being established. Whenever there is a need for the face shields to be handed over, arrangements will be made where a date and venue will be set.

For the medical personnel from farther districts such as Kapit, Betong and Kanowit, the meeting place will be in Sibu where these medical personnel with travel to Sibu to get the face shields.

For all the voluntary effort, Tong and his group are just glad that they could be of help during this time of global crisis.

They may just be any Tom, Dick and Harry we meet on the street, but to the medical front liners, they are angels. They may not be the front line heroes who face Covid-19 head-on but they definitely are heroes behind the scenes.—DayakDaily

About 90 face shields handled over to the Bintulu Hospital.
About 50 face shields for the Sarikei Hospital.
Intubation shields made in Sibu. The design is from their team in Kuching.
About 100 face shields for the Kapit Hospital.