UW Grad Student is helping organize PPE production, COVID response in developing countries

Rebecca Alcock is a recent master’s degree recipient in biomedical engineering and an incoming PhD student in industrial and systems engineering at UW–Madison. She has built on her experience as a volunteer at the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) office in Joyabaj in Guatemala’s Western Highlands and is now playing a leading role in a large-scale, United Nations-backed effort to mobilize production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and more in developing countries around the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project is a collaboration among engineers and other experts at UW–Madison, Marquette University, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado Mesa University, EWB, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

With support from the UW–Madison International Projects Office, Alcock is leading a small team that’s consulting with government officials, healthcare systems leaders and local manufacturers in Guatemala, Yemen, Malawi, the Maldives and Sudan on design and production of PPE like face shields and masks, medical equipment such as ventilators, and water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure. The group has also offered ad hoc technical assistance to groups in Ethiopia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Read more about Rebecca’s journey and her current project here.

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