The Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF) and Universal Robina Corporation (URC) completed the distribution of over 100,000 reusable face shields to 33 hospitals, as the country ramped up its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Health workers in the frontlines gave a thumbs-up to these face shields.
“Given the variety of face shields that we got from our warehouse, these were the most user-friendly,” said laboratory manager Ma. Lourdes Gatbonton, of The Medical City.
“They provide the right amount of distance between the user’s face and the shield. The person using it can breathe much better, unlike with other face shields,” said Gatbonton. “They also do not moisten or have that clouding effect so it allows us to see better and work around the laboratory without trouble.”
According to Dr Joseph Angelo Kiat of the surgery department at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, the clearer acetates also help with visibility.
“They are lightweight and sturdy. The face shields are also easy to clean for reuse,” said Dr. Kiat. “These face shields are already distributed to our hospital employees including our janitors, orderly, and food servers assigned to our COVID wing and wards.”
URC, one of the Philippines’ largest food firms, repurposed parts of its production line to manufacture tens of thousands of reusable face shields badly needed by frontline health workers battling Covid-19.
David Lim, URC’s senior vice president for quality, engineering, sustainability & technical services, designed the URC face shield. “We decided to come up with a face shield design that can both be easily manufactured and is reusable,” he said.
URC’s face shields are made from just three basic materials, making mass production easier: a polypropylene strip that is 14mm thick and about a meter long; an 8-by-13-inch PET sheet; and some staples.
The company buys the PET sheets and staples, but it produces the PP strips in its facility in Calamba, Laguna.
Because it does not have foams that absorb a lot of microbes, URC’s face shields can be dipped in a sterilizing solution and reused. Dr Maria Julieta Germar, who works at the Philippine General Hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department, said this makes the face shields easier to disinfect than other types.
GBF executive director Grace Colet related that the innovative solution of the URC engineers allowed GBF to respond fast to the hospitals’ needs for quality face shields.
“Since these were manufactured locally and efficiently at URC’s repurposed plant line, we were able to secure face shields at a more affordable cost which allowed GBF to distribute to more hospitals in need,” Colet said.
GBF distributed the face shields to, among others, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Rizal Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center, The Medical City and Chinese General Hospital.
Colet said hospitals were picked based on the number of Covid-19 cases they were handling and their public call for donation.