Irish researchers have developed an innovative new website to connect industry personal protective equipment (PPE) stock to hospitals worldwide.
Healthcare workers are at particular risk of contracting COVID-19 (coronavirus). Currently in Ireland, around one in four cases of the virus involve healthcare workers.
As a result, PPE, such as gloves, medical masks and face shields, are key to protecting these vital frontline workers. However this crisis has overwhelmed health resources worldwide, leaving many staff without the PPE that they need.
In an effort to combat this, researchers at NUI Galway and the University of Limerick have developed an innovative solution - a new global platform called www.covidmedsuppl.org.
It allows local organisations, such as businesses, industry, universities and laboratories, who may have PPE stock in supply, to list what they have, along with contact details and their geographic location.
If a COVID-19 surge occurs in their geographic area, whether that is Cork or Cairo, the local hospital or clinic can simply click on the map of their surroundings and see what emergency PPE/medical stock is in the vicinity and access it quickly.
The website was developed by Prof Derek O'Keeffe, a consultant physician at University Hospital Galway and a professor of medical device technology at NUI Galway, along with his engineering colleague, Dr Kevin Johnson, of the University of Limerick.
"Speaking with my clinical colleagues across the world and looking at the repeating patterns of health supply logistics breakdowns that have occurred as COVID-19 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 to get vital PPE to keep them and their patients safe," Prof O'Keeffe commented.
Meanwhile, according to Dr Johnson, everybody has a role to play in the fight against COVID-19.
"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," he added.
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