ABRFID Donates 3,500 Face Shields to Hospitals

By Edson Perin

The Brazilian association has created a webpage to streamline requests for the masks, in order to protect healthcare professionals from COVID-19 and allow them to save more lives.

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The Brazilian Association of the Radio Frequency Identification Industry (ABRFID), launched in 2014, represents and supports companies that operate in the RFID and Internet of Things (IoT) sectors. In the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic, the association of high-tech companies has decided to produce and donate face shields that are used over N95 masks, which serve to protect the faces of healthcare professionals.

During the first month since the initiative began, more than 3,500 face shields were manufactured and donated, benefiting professionals at more than 70 healthcare institutions throughout Brazil. These include such hospitals as AC CamargoSantas Casas de São PauloEmílio Ribas Hospital and Graacc Hospital, as well as Hospital das Clínicas, the School of Medicine, the University of São Paulo, HC CampinasHospital São Paulo, the Federal University of the State of São Paulo (UNIFESP), the Emergency Care Units (UPA), the Fire Department of the State of São Paulo and more.

The manufacturing of the masks, as well as some of the donations, are being carried out by SmartX Tagsowned by Pedro Moreira. Donations are also coming from AcuraAvery Dennison of BrazilCCRRFercien – Ferrari Asset ManagementHID Global, Impinj, Nepre ConsultingRFID Moura and Synergy. Public hospitals of the Unified Health System (SUS), when requested by ABRFID, will receive the masks free of charge. Mask orders placed by private hospitals will have their payments reverted to the production of free protective equipment, which will then be delivered to public hospitals.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), released by Canal CNN Brasil, close to 20 percent of medical professionals in Italy have contracted COVID-19, a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and have fallen ill due to a lack of available personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face shields. This has accelerated the collapse of the healthcare structure in Italy, one of the countries most impacted by the disease.

The intention of the association, which organized a group through Whatsapp, is to protect healthcare professionals. After all, as one associate says, “It is not just hospital equipment that saves lives: the main protagonists are human beings who know how to operate them—that is, healthcare professionals.” ABRFID’s initiative began a month ago and at record speed, with the transformation of part of the production line of one of its associates to manufacture face shields. Other ABRFID entrepreneurs then joined in and introduced new ideas, such as inserting RFID tags into the masks in order to better control and locate them automatically.

According to the WHO, hospitals cannot operate only with resident doctors. Therefore, the most qualified, experienced and older professionals—who, since they are older, are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus—need to be in charge of the work. As such, they must be protected. In addition to doctors, nurses, nutritionists, dentists and hospital physiotherapists, healthcare professionals include members of the Mobile Emergency Service teams of Brazil’s fire departments, including rescue teams.

According to Roger Davanso, the president of ABRFID, “This initiative ended up causing several companies associated with ABRFID to recognize the importance of uniting around the fight against coronavirus, and thus helping to keep the healthcare system functioning fully, for the benefit of the entire population.” He adds, “It will be even better when more companies, including other associations and sectors of the economy, join this movement.”

According to an ABRFID associate, “If we can prevent doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from becoming infected and getting sick from COVID-19, we will be indirectly helping to save more lives. Healthcare professionals need to be healthy to save other people’s lives.”

Those interested in ordering ABRFID face shields can fill out a form on the company’s website. What’s more, those willing to donate cash to help the ABRFID initiative can visit the same site and click on the icon for donations. A manual is available to assist healthcare professionals in using the face shields properly.