The University of Botswana has designed a face shield that can be used as part of protective gear for medical personnel involved in the fight against COVID-19. The initiative to design the face shield is part of the university’s commitment towards responding to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a media statement from UB the face shield was designed by a team of engineers and product designers who were assembled to develop solutions towards supporting the national response immediately after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. After studying emerging literature and experiences from other nations as well as with further consultation from medical staff at the Faculty of Medicine, the team determined shortage of ventilators and protective gear for medical personnel as areas of urgent need, reads the statement.
Attention was therefore shifted towards designing of face shields, facemasks and ventilation hoods. “The design processes started with prototyping of the face shield and facemask. Prototyping for the face shield is now complete and production towards meeting the national demand will commence,” reads the statement. The material used for the face shield comprises mainly acrylic band, transparent film (OHP acetate sheet), two-way tape and an elastic string. “The idea was to ensure that the developed design would make use of material that was available locally at the least possible cost.”
The face shield is meant to compliment the facemasks that medical personnel use especially when dealing directly with Coronavirus affected patients.
“Its most selling points are that it is cheap, one size fits all, very light in weight and seats comfortably on the face of the user. Additionally, it can be used several times as long as it is sterilised,” the school has said. The team is currently working on designing and prototyping the ventilation hood which comprises the hood and controls to regulate pressure of the mix of oxygen and natural air supplied to the patient. Once this is completed it will also go on the production line.
The team is led by Prof Benjamin Bolaane, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology with three Heads of Department; Electrical Engineering, Prof Edwin Matlotse, Mechanical Engineering, Prof Jerekias Gandure and Industrial Design and Technology, Dr. Yaone Rapitsenyane.