Shehzil Malik proposes DIY face-masks and protective equipment

The artist emphasised on the need for more protective equipment for healthcare workers as well as the general public


Entertainment Desk April 06, 2020

Artist Shehzil Malik has come up with simple prototypes for easy, DIY face-masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of her distinct illustrations.

The aim of her designs is to bring light to simple ways in which people can improvise in the light of shortage of relevant equipment. The artist took to Instagram to share her illustrations coupled with lengthy explanations as to how they work and why it's important to demand better for healthcare workers on the front line against coronavirus.

In her first post highlighting the important of PPE's for healthcare professionals, Shehzil listed down people and organisations working at the forefront to do as much as they can to manufacture and provide help on a short notice.

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"I spoke to Green Volunteers who are working to distribute PPE around Pakistan, and the situation is pretty intense," she shared, adding that the government is doing what they can "but at regular bureaucratic speed. There’s a shortage in hospitals in major cities and smaller towns are struggling to find supplies."

She went on to list organisations and people that are doing their best, including The Zaman Foundation and designers Asim Jofa and Maheen Khan.

"The Zaman Foundation (behind Leisure Club) is now producing PPE suits. They worked with doctors to design a suit that is made from 100% cotton with washes applied to it that makes it non-breathable and water-repellant. It is not medical grade, but is an acceptable manner of defense," she explained.

According to Shehzil's research, medical grade fabric is harder to procure in the market at this time because it is being sold at exorbitant rates. "If you know a supplier doing this- tell them a profit made at the cost of people dying is a disgrace. Lives dependent on them!" she urged.

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She added how at this rate, the PPE crisis will only mount and the only other way is to find jugaars in the form of DIY. "Right now, doctors are even using garbage bags as gowns- which is terrible but also the kind of desperate ingenuity we need."

"A gown can be fashioned out of found plastic sheets and later disposed. You can use raincoats, parachute material, you can stitch plastic shower curtains," shared the artist.

She, however, emphasised on following guidelines. "Before making your own DIY solution, read the guidelines for isolation gowns by the Centre of Disease Control so you know your limitations."

That's not all. She also shed light on the importance of using face masks at this stage of the pandemic. "Experts now recommend that everyone should cover their face to stop the spread of the virus since it can be transmitted by talking, coughing or sneezing."

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"Researchers are now studying the effectiveness of DIY masks in times of crisis- and say that we can make our own masks so that medical-grade equipment can go to those at the front line," she wrote, before diving into how you too can fashion yourself a good, protective mask right at home.

She ended her post with a much-needed PSA, writing, "If you step out even to get groceries, use a mask or a scarf to cover your face. Cloth masks have their own limitations and will need to be washed after use."

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