Rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis using digital fabrication in Malawi
COVID-19 poses a serious threat to the health care system in Malawi. An unprecedented demand for medical supplies, coupled with global supply chain disruption, has resulted in a widespread shortage of Protective Personal Equipment (PPE). In Malawi, severe shortages of PPE, including face masks and face shields, have led to protests by health workers.
In other parts of the world, the failure of traditional industry to meet the demand for critical items has given rise to small-scale, localised production of PPE using digital fabrication (i.e. 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC milling). These initiatives leverage Open Source Hardware (OSH), where designs are made freely accessible so that anyone can use and modify them.
As of Friday, 15th May 2020, Malawi has 63 confirmed cases, with 36 active cases and 24 recovered cases. This is a critical window of opportunity to tackle COVID-19 in Malawi. This project will develop digital fabrication capabilities in Malawi to support the production of urgently needed face masks and face shields. This is a stop-gap solution to locally produce PPE, at a time when these items cannot be imported in sufficient quantity or are subject to lengthy delays.