DTI FabLabs produce PPEs for healthcare frontliners

By Richa Noriega

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its Shared Service Facility (SSF) Fabrication Laboratories (FabLabs) has produced and distributed face shields and aerosol boxes in various hospitals nationwide.

In a statement on Friday, the trade department said its SSF FabLabs have produced and distributed 59,127 face shields and 230 aerosol boxes across 1,026 hospitals nationwide to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers.

The department said the SSF FabLab projects under DTI is a private-public partnership initiative implemented through cooperators that aims to improve micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) competitiveness by providing machinery, equipment, and other auxiliary items, as well as skills and knowledge under a shared system.

“There is a growing community of makers in our regions, particularly the MSME sector, who have been helping the country in providing our healthcare workers and frontliners with locally fabricated PPEs,” DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez was quoted in the statement.

According to the trade department, there are 24 funded and supported SSF FabLabs along with privately-run FabLabs have collaborated with Filipino professionals, doctors, members of the academe, experts from Massachuset Institute of Technology (MIT), and Fab Networks across the globe to produce medical-grade PPEs.

The trade chief underscored the importance to create local manufacturing capacities in order to reduce import dependence, given the global shortage of critical medical supplies.

“With the help of various groups and individuals, we have been slowly addressing the shortage of PPEs for our healthcare workers and frontliners. There are around 10 ongoing projects that have the capacity to produce medical-grade coveralls, face masks, and ventilators, among others,” Lopez said.

“We continue to encourage members of the private sector to join in this endeavor, especially as there is a growing demand for PPEs and face masks. This will become a necessity as we redefine health standards and new protocols for business operations post-ECQ,” he added.