5 May 2020

Rajavithi Medical Team and SCG Are On A Mission To Aid Frontline Healthcare Workers

For more than 3 months, the world has been witnessing the war that the new strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has declared against its mankind. In Thailand, the pandemic means; 47 deaths, a total of 2,792 confirmed cases, 1,999 recovered and 746 active cases (as of 20 April 2020).

While the world anxiously waits for the highly anticipated arrival of corona vaccine and drugs; SCGs engineers and designer team, in partnership with Rajavithi medical team, come together to innovate Mobile Isolation Unit that will aid the frontline healthcare workers who are working tirelessly to contain and mitigate the outbreak.

A Plan to Conquer COVID-19
Responding to the disease that is attacking society at its core; speed, strategic plan, resource allocation and medical equipment and supplies play a vital role.

“3 months after Rajavithi hospital’s first COVID-19 patient, our team are now prepared to take on the challenge of dealing with the rising number new cases supported by available knowledge, expertise, medical equipment and facilities. In addition, we have taken any proactive measures to ensure the safety of our frontline healthcare workers who are at greater risk of contacting the pandemic. Rotating shift to reduce working hours has been put in place to ensure that the team are getting enough rest as infection or death on any of our works will not only affect individual’s physical and mental health but also the team’s morale. Providing the healthcare workers with necessary protective equipment is also our highest priority and we would like to thank SCG for their innovation on a series of the Mobile Isolation Units; especially for the Negative/Positive Pressure Isolation Chamber as this has helped our team to perform their duty with more confidence.

Today, initial swab test must be carried out for all non COVID-19 related medical surgeries that are still ongoing at the hospital. The NegativePositive Pressure Isolation Chamber has enabled us to complete the initial screening with ease. Due to its light weight, mobility and easy and fast installation, this mobile chamber can conveniently be used to provide additional preventive measures in any provincial hospitals” DrSomkiat Lalitwongsa, Director of Rajavithi Hospital, said.

Mission Possible: preventing the transmission of coronavirus from patient to healthcare workers
Through the concept of patient isolation, transmission and prevention, installation convenience and ease of use, the series of innovative Mobile Isolation Units were designed by medical teams from Rajavithi Hospital, Ramathibodi Hospital, Hospital for Tropical Diseases along with engineers and designer team from Chemicals Business, SCG. After testing the units, the medical teams are certain that these units will play a pivotal role in helping the medic reduce their respond time to the pandemic. These units’ mobility also serves as a plus as it can be dismantled once the situation returns to normal.

“At the hospital, apart from isolating infected patients from others, reducing the chance of airborne contaminant and transmission from reaching other patients without COVID-19 is just as important. The Negative Pressure Isolation Room is an ideal solution for the Red Zone since a tent-like structure can be easily set up in an emergency room (ER) or an intensive care unit (ICU). At the moment, about 5% of patients become critically ill and has to be moved to ICU, it is impossible to have new negative pressure isolation rooms built just in time to facilitate the needs. However, SCG’s innovation has made it a mission possible, the Negative Pressure Isolation Rooms can be easily set up and ready to be used within an hour.

Patient Isolation Capsule, a part of the innovative Mobile Isolation Units, acts a safeguard to prevent the virus transmission between the infected patients and the external environment during the transport. This ensures the safety of the healthcare workers and allow other patients such as cancer patients and pregnant women in their last trimester to be able to come and use the hospital facilities.” Dr. Peerapat Makarapong, Chief Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Rajavithi Hospital, said.

Lightweight, convenient, easy installation and less dependence on PPE
According to Dr.Somboon Subwongcharoen, Chief General Surgery and Hepatobiliary Transplant at Rajavithi Hospital, “The Mobile Isolation Units are lightweight, can be conveniently and safely transported, reasonably priced and most importantly, the units are easy to set up. For instance, within one hour, a team of healthcare workers and female doctors were able to set up the Negative Pressure Isolation Room in the ICU ward. This option has eliminated the need to construct/update additional facilities. Moreover, the units can be installed at any field hospitals, help ease the problem with PPE shortage and increase efficiency in patient screening stage.”

Innovative Mobile Isolation Units, the solutions.
The success of this mission is due to the collaborative effort from teams under Chemicals Business, SCG; medical innovation specialists from the Medical and Well-being department, material and design experts from Design Catalyst, mechanical and robotics engineers from REPCO and Nawa Intertech and supply chain and installation specialist from Texplore.

“The mission’s goal is to protect the medics; prevent the coronavirus from being transmitted from patients to healthcare workers while allowing them to perform their duty more efficiently. With this in mind, we developed a suite of Mobile Isolation Units, with high emphasis on mobility; lightweight, easy installation and can be conveniently transported and distributed to other provinces who are in need.

Because these units were non-existent in Thailand prior to the coronavirus outbreak, SCG teams had to work from scratch under a time constraint, collaborate harmoniously and in unity with the medical teams and accelerate the development of the innovation, as well as the trial and error procedure. A tight time constraint during the development and design phase was the first challenge we encountered. The second challenge was on how to scale up and increase our production capability to meet the high demand.” said Suracha Udomsak, Ph.D., Vice President and CTO – Innovation and Technology, Chemical business, SCG.

For those interested in making a donation to support frontline healthcare workers can do so through “The Chaipattana Foundation”; account name “Chaipattana Fund to fight against COVID-19 (and other diseases)”, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Chitralada branch, account number 067-300487-3 or call 02-447-8585-8 ext. 109/ 121/ 259. Donation to support the provision of medical equipment to hospital across the country can also be made through the “Federation of Thai Industries” and the “Thai Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade of Thailand”. For more information, please call 02-586-2888.

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