By Paddy Henry
As the Coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of slowing globally, researchers at NUI Galway and the University of Limerick have been doing their bit to combat the spread of the virus.
Researchers from the two universities have designed an innovative Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) emergency supply donation website to connect industry PPE stock to hospitals worldwide.
The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed the resources of the world’s health systems, often leaving frontline clinical staff without the required PPE, as traditional supply logistic chains lag behind the surge.
Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Consultant Physician at University Hospital Galway and Professor of Medical Device Technology at NUI Galway, has developed this innovative solution with his engineering colleague Dr Kevin Johnson from UL to help combat this problem.
The new project, covidmedsupply.org, lets local organisations roam across the globe, such as laboratories and universities, who may have personal protective equipment In stock, which may be of use to local hospitals if there is a surge in cases of the virus in a particular area.
Organisations who have stock in supply list the categories of what equipment they have on inventory, such as gloves, gowns, goggles etc., with contact details. The company can then drop a map pin to show their geographic location. If a COVID–19 surge occurs in their geographic area, the local hospital or clinic can simply click on the map of their surroundings and see what emergency medical stock is in the vicinity and access it quickly.
Speaking about the development of this novel new framework, Professor Derek O’Keeffe spoke of the importance this new innovation may have in keeping both medical staff and patients safe: “Speaking with my clinical colleagues across the world and looking at the repeating patterns of health supply logistics breakdowns that have occurred as COVID19 surges have swept across the world, it is clear that innovative alternative solutions need to be developed such as www.covidmedsupply.org to enable frontline staff get vital PPE to keep them and their patients safe”.
Co-developer of the global resource sharing scheme, Dr Kevin Johnson, spoke of the importance of the global community coming together during this time of crisis, and to use technological developments for the good of communities around the world: “Everybody has a role to play in this fight against the COVID19 pandemic – that could be simply to self-isolate, use your skillset to create a website such as www.covidmedsupply.org, or donate any surplus supplies you might have to this worthy cause. With so much technology at our fingertips, why not use it for the good of your community”.