In response to the emergent COVID–19 pandemic, the UW–Madison Makerspace partnered with Midwest Prototyping, Delve, and UW Health to develop, prototype, and produce the Badger Shield, along with other personal protective equipment (PPE). The Badger Shield design and production strategy were then adopted and applied in Guatemala by the UW Engineers Without Borders (EWB) student organization, in partnership with EWB–USA and Rotary International–Guatemala. This work enabled rapid scaling of local PPE production and ultimately mitigated critical PPE shortages in Guatemala. This work then garnered attention from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In partnership with UNDP Crisis Bureau Recovery Solutions and Human Mobility team, UNDP country offices and other partners, UW–Madison worked with local stakeholders in a number of countries (Guatemala, Kyrgyz Republic, Malawi, Maldives, Sudan, and Yemen) to strengthen local COVID-19 response. UNDP country offices provided industry, government, academic, and healthcare connections and are mobilizing the response on the ground, under the auspices of the Crisis Bureau. UW provided consultation and technical assistance on PPE and medical device design and production; supported the development of national responses and re–opening strategies across sectors and engaged in higher education capacity development.
The UW team supported stakeholders in LMICs to strengthen the local COVID-19 response by providing consultation regarding:
- Prototyping or supporting the adaptation of products to meet the needs/capabilities of local hospitals and/or the local communities
- Providing support in aligning products with international standards
- Supporting local universities in the setup of testing facilities and developing broader capacity to facilitate coordination in their local contexts
- Providing support in identifying potential supply chains and assistance for manufacturers transitioning to PPE production
- Developing software tools to facilitate connections throughout the supply chain by matching materials suppliers to manufacturers of PPE and manufacturers to facilities in need
Roadmap Response Framework
The UW team—alongside EWB volunteers & UNDP country offices—developed an operational workflow that facilitated a rapid response needs assessment of a country’s healthcare system and the implementation of technical instruments. This included:
- Understanding the country’s COVID-19 context
- Identifying the needs of hospitals and other healthcare facilities
- Researching solutions
- Evaluating (and iterating) solutions
- Prototyping and testing
- Preparing for implementation
- Implementing solutions and distribution
- Monitoring, evaluation, resolution, and learning
As a result of the work being done on this partnership, Yemen’s young mechatronic engineers are leading local solutions for national recovery from COVID-19.
Learn more about the partnership, the team, the initial grant, and the follow-up work.