The simpler, the better.
The Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF) and Universal Robina Corporation (URC) distributed over 100,000 reusable face shields to 33 hospitals in April and May.
URC is one of the Philippines’ largest food firms. Due to the increasing demand for protective equipment during the pandemic, the corporation repurposed parts of its production line to manufacture tens of thousands of reusable face shields for frontliners fighting against 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 using three basic materials: a polypropylene (PP) strip that is 14mm thick and about a meter long; an 8-by-13-inch PET sheet; and some staples to hold it together. The face shields don’t require a lot of materials, making it easy to mass produce thousands of units to distribute to frontliners.
The company buys the PET sheets and staples, but the PP strips are produced in a URC facility located in Calamba, Laguna.
Some face shields use foam, but the material absorbs microbes, which prevents frontliners from reusing them. URC’s face shields use PP strips and can be easily disinfected: all it needs is a dip in sterilizing solution and it can be used again.
Dr. Joseph Angelo Kiat of the surgery department at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center said the clearer acetates also help with visibility and are helping janitors, staff, and health workers stay safe while on the job.
“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.”
According to GBF executive director Grace Colet, the design from URC engineers allowed GBF to quickly respond 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 the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippine General Hospital in Muntinlupa City, The Medical City and Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City, the Chinese General Hospital and San Lazaro Hospital in Manila City, and Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center, and East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, to name a few.
These hospitals received face shields based on the number of COVID-19 cases currently being handled and their public call for donation.