IfM researchers make strides in local manufacturing of PPE in Malawi
Lucia Corsini and Dr James Moultrie of the IfM are part of a cross-University team collaborating with researchers in Malawi and Ethiopia to locally manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) to address the COVID-19 crisis.
When the first cases of the coronavirus in Malawi were identified in April, the project moved to rapidly respond to the need for PPE where it could not be imported in a timely and sufficient fashion, using digital fabrication.
Since then, the team has achieved some important milestones.
A digital fabrication facility named the “Twenti Makerspace” has been established in Blantyre, Malawi, with a laser cutter and 12 3D printers. The team is training 15 students on the equipment, while additional students and local community members are supporting with production and assembly of face shields.
Whilst waiting for guidance from Malawi’s Ministry of Health, the team have been producing and distributing face shields to local SMEs.
Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Corporation (MAIIC) has provided additional funds to the team to donate 2,000 face shields to healthcare workers. At the end of July, 1,000 face shields each were donated to Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
This project has been generously supported by the Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA Research Fund COVID-19 Emergency Awards.