Disan, left, HI 3D Technician, with a finished 3D printed face shield, Arua Uganda | © HI 2020
In Uganda, HI has adapted 3D printing technology used for physical rehabilitation to produce protective face visors for health professionals on the front line
In 2019, HI launched an innovative project in northern Uganda using the latest 3D scanning technology and 3D printers to create made-to-measure leg splints for refugees.
In March of this year, the Ugandan National Task Force on COVID-19 reported a significant shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for its frontline and health worker staff and requested donations from industry and organisations capable of producing locally-made PPE.
"The shortage of face shields for medical responders testing and treating COVID-19 patients in hospital was putting these brave individuals at risk and under great strain. We sat down with our local partners, CORSU and Skymac, and designed a digital template for the 3D printers and a manufacturing process.
The headband is the part of the face shield suited to 3D printing. The plastic filament we use creates a lightweight, flexible and resistant object ready for assembly in just four and a half hours.
We donated our first batch of 50 face shields to the Ministry of Health National Task Force on COVID 19 in August. It was quite an important moment for me personally to see the skills I acquired during my training contribute to my country’s response to the crisis."
HI plans to continue producing face shields alongside splints for rehabilitation beneficiaries. The need for PPE is particularly high in the refugee settlements of Arua District where the orthosis project is being implemented.
HI was awarded a European Innovation Council Horizon Prize of one million euros in September 2020 for our ground-breaking work using technology and telemedicine for physical rehabilitation.
This project is part of AT2030, a programme funded by UK Aid and led by the Global Disability Innovation Hub. AT2030 will test ‘what works’ to improve access to AT and will invest £20m to support solutions to scale. With a focus on innovative products, new service models, and global capacity support, the programme will reach 9 million people directly and 6 million more indirectly to enable a lifetime of potential through life-changing assistive technology.