Making and Sourcing Face Shields in the Philippines

Philippines Making and Sourcing Face Shields
Face shields created by the network of FabLab PH (Left) and DIY Tutorials face shield from the University of the Philippines.

Face shields are soon to be required as additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for people using public transportation across the Philippines.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) directive released on August 5 takes effect on August 15, 2020, and will be required of drivers, conductors, and passengers in all public transportation on roads, railways, airplanes, and the seas.

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Face shields will be used over face masks that have been mandatory PPE for everyone going out in public amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has put the entire country under various stages of community quarantine.

“The initiative aims to further reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in public transport facilities as health authorities have pointed out that the use of face shields and masks reduces exposure to and emission of respiratory droplets considerably,” explained the DOTr of its new directive.

While face masks have been mandatory for the public since lockdowns were implemented beginning March, face shields have mostly been used by frontline workers in medical facilities and security outposts.

To offer better protection against exposure to coronavirus disease the face masks and face shields need to follow good design.

Good News Pilipinas found a Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Face Mask and Face Shield design from the University of the Philippines and a fabrication laboratory network that creates face shields and other PPEs in collaboration with doctors.

University of the Philippines-designed DIY Face Shields

The University of the Philippines Diliman College of Home Economics (UP CHE) released Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tutorials for face masks and face shields while asking the public to help save the scarce medical-grade PPEs for frontliners.

The DIY tutorials provide easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions on finding material and putting together the PPEs in your own home.

The DIY Tutorials for Face Masks and Face Shields is another initiative of the UP community which has been at the forefront of developing local designs to address needs to protect frontliners and the public from COVID-19 including the RX Box vital signs monitoring device, ventilator valves, and disinfection chambers, among others.

Get the complete set of DIY tutorials for face masks and face shields English version (PDF) here.

Get the complete Filipino version (PDF) here.

FabLab Philippines Network

A group of fabrication laboratories (Fablabs) across the Philippines has been making face shields tested by frontliners since the pubic health emergency was declared in the country.

FabLab PH COVID-19 Response collaborates with stakeholders and partners in both the government and private sectors to produce items that can be made manually or using digital fabrication machines such as 3D Printers, Laser Cutters, among other equipment.

The group welcomes inquiries on how to link themselves to a Fablab near their vicinity and ask for any assistance that the lab can do.

The FabLab PH network can refer you to any of the ff:

  • 11 FabLabs in Luzon
  • 11 FabLabs in the Visayas
  • 8 FabLabs in Mindanao

In an earlier interview with FabLab Mindanao’s Lemuel Clark Velasco revealed how their Face Shields were fabricated with the guidance of doctors who embraced FabLab design thinking.

Dr. Rentor Cafino worked with FabLab Mindanao to create the design the addresses issues of visibility and uncomfortable fit in other designs.

The resulting face shields were tested by doctors and frontliners in Zamboanga City and were confirmed to be more ergonomic and avoided fogging issues.

“Good motive is not enough, but good design is what is needed,” emphasized Velasco as he called on more responsible action when creating PPEs.

Velasco pointed out the need for PPE designers to consider the concerns:

  • disposability and reusability
  • clinically safe
  • washable
  • virosols to disinfect
  • washable with soap

Contact the FabLab PH network here.

Face shields made of bamboo have been developed by the Department of Science and Technology – Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) while the DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute released four designs for face masks for public use.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the University of the Philippines and the FabLab PH network for making face shields that are designed to protect people from exposure to COVID-19.

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