MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, March 29, called on suppliers to provide medical-grade fabric needed to help local designers produce personal protective equipment for health workers battling the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Robredo made the call during her Biserbisyong Leni radio show, saying that tapping local designers was one proposed solution the Office of the Vice President was looking into after it faced difficulty purchasing PPEs.
Robredo’s office has raised over P37 million to fund the purchase of PPEs for health care workers as of Saturday, March 28. Despite this, only some 32,325 of the 83,859 sets lined up for distribution were obtained due to the worldwide shortage of the resource.
Robredo said several designers have since responded to her office’s call to create PPEs, with prototypes already completed and checked by doctors for safety. A crucial part of assessing local designers’ prototypes was ensuring that PPEs were made with medical-grade cloth.
In an update, Robredo's team said doctors are now recommending tafetta with silver black lining instead of nylon tafetta, which was found to be not 100% water repellant.
Robredo said producing the PPEs locally will make their office less dependent on importing the items, which can take weeks to arrive. It will also provide work for women who can stitch together PPEs in their homes.
The PPEs to be designed by the Office of the Vice President, Robredo said, will also be washable and will have instructions for proper disinfection.