With medical supplies running dangerously low and predictions of a surge of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, many known fashion designers are doing whatever they can to medical frontliners.
Celebrity fashion designer Michael Leyva, one of the top Filipino designers, joined a team of designers to help frontliners by sewing surgical masks and personal protective equipment for donation.
The celebrity designer has turned his studio into a pseudo-factory producing hazmat suits, masks and other personal protective equipment for medical workers and other frontliners battling COVID-19.
His cutting tables, now devoid of silk, sequins, beads and other materials for gowns, has been converted into a factory to make face masks, which will be donated to health workers.
His team is also working with waterproof fabric to help solve the scarcity of PPEs in the country.
"We are one with this. #teammichaelleyva will be donating PPEs, head covers and masks for our heroes #frontliners," Leyva said in an Instagram post.
"Mabuhay po kayo at salamat sa dedikasyon at pagmamahal sa ating bayan. (Long live, and thank you for your dedication and love of country.) This wouldn’t have been possible without my team’s dedication and willingness to help," he said.
Other designers who have pitched in to make face masks and PPEs were Mich Dulce, Steph Lim, Patrice Ramos Diaz, Rajo Laurel, Patty Ang and Puey Quinones who have tunred their ateliers into PPE production centers.
Beauty clinic Belo has also donated its stock of PPEs to hospitals and authorities manning checkpoints across Luzon.
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While the World Health Organization (WHO) said that homemade face masks do not provide the same protection that N95 masks do, they can fend off the spread of COVID—and having a mask is better than nothing at all.
As of March 24, 552 patients in the Philippines tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 35 died, 20 recovered, while the rest continue to battle the disease.
The Philippine Medical Association, meanwhile, said that there is a shortage of PPEs, there is no shortage of doctors.
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“We have 120,000 doctors here outside of the ones who are in other countries,” said PMA vice president Benito Atienza in an interview on radio dzBB. He said his association counts 83,000 members.
“What doctors need is protection— personal protective equipment. That’s all we ask. Many want to go on duty,” Atienza said in Filipino.
Atienza said that additional hazard pay is also important for the health care workers.
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He said some hospitals are already implementing rotation schemes to protect their workforce from contracting the virus.
The PMA is also helping public and private hospitals to procure additional medical equipment, he said.
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