Students at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) are making face shields from home to help hospitals nationwide combat the coronavirus outbreak as demand for medical supplies continues unabated.
When the storm of Covid-19 hit the country, it caught college students in term time unprepared.
However, Wiriya Palawat, a senior student of the faculty of engineering and president of the Shield For Heroes project, said they began the initiative to help hospitals running short of medical equipment.
"The scheme aims to protect medical staff on the front line from contagion. While students are shifting to online learning, some have volunteered to make face shields from home and deliver them to hospitals in need," he told the Bangkok Post over the phone.
Mr Wiriya said the project has created around 3000 face shields, of which over half have been donated to hospitals over the past two weeks.
"Some students made 500 3D printed face shields, others made 600 DIY versions from home. Another batch of 2000 came from state-funded students as part of their volunteer activities.
"We are working around the clock to hit 5000. It takes four minutes to make one mask," he said.
More than a hundred hospitals, he said, have reached out to the project.
home-spun ingenuity: A student at KMUTT creates face shields from home to help medical staff nationwide combat the Covid-19. Photograph: King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi
"Provincial and district hospitals need N95 masks, PPE suits and goggles because they work with infected patients. On the other hand, subdistrict health promotion hospitals need face shields and alcohol-based hand sanitisers to protect them during regular contact with community residents."
However, Mr Wiriya said the scheme is facing the problem of costly materials due to growing demand for face shields.
"Prices are going up two or three times. Therefore, we are buying them in bulk from factories and distributing them to students nationwide," he added.
Meanwhile, Nuttapon Prapaschai, a student in the faculty of industrial education and technology, called for everyone to cooperate to ensure Thais pass through the crisis together.
"At first, I made 100 face shields from home in Nakhon Pathom.
"However, my high school teacher jump-started the project and we were able to donate 395 face shields to local hospitals and a police station.
"I have just delivered another batch of 300 to rescuers."
Mr Nuttapon said his group of six can make around 200 masks per day as they race against the clock to get the work done.
"We must help medical staff because we are in the same boat. Anybody who is interested in the project can visit our Facebook page 'Shield For Heroes'," he added.