COVID-19: Global emergency
The scale of the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is unprecedented in recent times. At the end of 2019, a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origin was reported in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Doctors determined these cases were caused by a novel coronavirus now called SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease. By mid-March, the WHO declared this a global pandemic and it continues to spread. Millions of people are infected and hundreds of thousands have already died worldwide and many more could die.
The supply chains that we all rely on have become ineffective. Huge spikes in demand – in what is known as the “bullwhip effect” – have depleted even basic supplies. Hospitals, first-responders and other health workers are running out of supplies in many countries. It will take months or longer to meet the need.
While some countries have borne the full force of the disease, others are ill-prepared to handle a health emergency of this scope. Each country faces its own set of challenges. Already fragile populations face a particularly dire situation as the virus spreads. As WHO Director Gen. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Urgent support is needed to bolster weak health systems to detect, diagnose and care for people with the virus, to prevent further human-to-human transmission and protect health workers.”
Field Ready’s Response
Our strategy in the immediate term is to develop, make and disseminate the knowledge about workable solutions. We will expand capacity by working with established partners including local businesses that can scale to meet demand. In the coming months, we expect the coronavirus to heavily affect a number of countries with existing vulnerability and poor infrastructure. This will be the main focus of our activities; as the pandemic subsides we will work hard to help prevent its reemergence and reduce its risk. When and where appropriate, this will include technical assistance, training and capacity building.
In addition, we strongly advocate that:
1) Innovations that can have an impact be fully supported: Field Ready is truly thankful for the donors that have step forward to support our efforts so far and encourage others to move fast.
2) Standards are met and quality remains particularly to ensure that no harm is ever caused: Field Ready has put in considerable work in ensuring designs are safe and effective. We will support others to work with us to ensure that standards are met and shared.
3) Existing local manufacturing facilities are categorized as “critical infrastructure:” Field Ready has been working with communities and local government to promote access to makerspaces and light manufacturing in the light of closures/sheltering in place rules. These efforts are bearing fruit in locations from Iraq to the Pacific. In the Middle East, we are redoubling our efforts and have recently launched a project that will ultimately benefit at least 100,000 frontline healthcare workers in Iraq, Syria, Kenya and Uganda.
We encourage others to join us in these important points to ensure their dissemination and support.
Field Ready’s Solutions
Field Ready is designing effective solutions that can be locally made anywhere and that have a demonstrable impact. These open-source products will be shared widely, and the skills and capacity to replicate them are keys to our approach. Examples include:
- Unique protective items - Facemasks/face shields
- Oxygen splitters and connectors - Medical equipment repairs
- Disposable lab supplies - Bespoke hardware items
Field Ready’s emergency response team is prepared to take action at short notice. Comprising a multidisciplinary team of engineers, designers, logisticians and other experts on standby, we are ready to deploy when requested. The team remains flexible and ready to deploy globally to provide unique solutions where regular supply chains fail to meet demand.
Field Ready has a vast array of partners and has the capacity to take on more. This includes a range of community groups, other NGOs, universities and businesses especially those in the entrepreneurial, engineering and manufacturing sectors. We work with government (such as ministries of health), regional bodies and the UN specialized agencies (e.g., UNICEF). With funding and other resources – from volunteer in-kind contributions to large institutional donors – we are able to solve problems that others ignore. Together we work hard to amplify our efforts and have an impact now and for preparing for new areas of infection.
Field Ready is actively seeking funding, resources and expertise that align with our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several ways to reach us including:
Our contact page is here
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