As governments grapple with unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, it is grassroots initiatives that are increasingly providing the answers and filling the gaps.
Among the most remarkable stories of ingenuity and drive is that of Yonatan Doron, a 31-year-old web developer from Israel.
“I thought to myself well I know what I am good at and what I am bad at and I am good in communicating with people and I know how to make things happen,” he told Sky News.
In just two weeks, he has mobilised more than 300 people across Israel.
Together they have manufactured and delivered 25,000 items of PPE directly to hospitals across the country using 3D printers and extraordinary logistics.
They are now taking orders from abroad and are manufacturing 1,000 items every day from scratch with no previous experience.
They are even able to modify their designs to the specifications of doctors and nurses.
“I found myself – like a whole lot of people across the world – at my home with a new reality to wake up to; with a daughter that is in the house, with no routine, and with a wife who is an essential key worker,” he explains.
It was while scrolling through Facebook that he came across a post called “World versus Covid”.
“It was a shout out for maker communities all over the world to share knowledge and models of 3D printing to make it a world effort,” he says.
“I don’t even own a 3D printer! But I immediately called my friends who do and very fast we found ourselves in a crazy situation…
“We started to build a few face shields that we saw in open source communities online across the world. We modified it to our version that we thought would be good. And we provided maybe 20 or 30 pieces to people that we know.”
Then, he explained, things went crazy.
“My phone number got shared in a whole lot of WhatsApp groups of nurses, doctors and medical staff in Israel.
“I was bombarded with phone calls and messages that I couldn’t possibly have time to respond to.”
He quickly realised that the demand was so huge across Israel that he needed to expand with the help of volunteers.
“After a day or two, we pretty much built a cross-country operation,” says Yonatan.
“We have co-ordinators in the north, the south, the Jerusalem area and the central part of Israel.”
He recruited Arbel Tamari, a 27-year-old fifth-year medical student as his head of logistics.
“In one day, I received over 15,000 requests from doctors and medical teams all around the country. In just one day!” Ms Tamari tells Sky News.
“I feel very proud to contribute to this situation as much as I can, especially as a medical student. I know how important it is,” she says.
The team mass-printed face shields using approved specifications openly available on the internet.
But Mr Doron and his team also created a modified clip to make face masks more comfortable for doctors and nurses who wear them for long shifts, as well as a tiny clip which reduces the amount of hand sanitiser released from bottles.
“You can save 50% in each press and when sanitiser is in short supply this can really be valuable,” he explains.
“In a few hours you can produce hundreds of these clips in a single printer.”
￼Using word-of-mouth via social media, he mobilised people across the county; some with 3D printers and others with logistical know-how.
Coronavirus infection and death rates are much lower in Israel compared with other countries but the government has still struggled with PPE delivery because of the global shortage.
“I think this is how governments are built. They are structured with all kinds of hierarchy and departments and there are issues of budgets and all this complex structure… it can take weeks or months,” Mr Doron says.
“And what we are doing is cutting directly to the field where things happen to the people who need it.
“We have no hierarchy, no structure. We have a direct connection to the field; to the people in the frontline. They give us immediate feedback to what they want and what is good for them.”
It is all non-profit with the finance coming purely from donations.
“So we don’t have any motivation to keep it to ourselves,” he says.
“Whoever takes it, we will share our knowledge. Any community leaders that would like to discuss and get feedback on our knowledge, they can feel free to reach out to me.”
Source: Read Full Article