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All over the world, doctors have to face the COVID-19 pandemic without an adequate supply of personal protection equipment (PPE). The gravity of the situation is reflected in the fact that in Italy, one of the centres of the coronavirus outbreak, a doctor is almost 30% more likely to die than an average person. India needs to produce 100,000 PPE suits per day while can currently produce around 12,000/day. India will expand the capacity to 30,000 per day by April 23. There have been multiple instances of hospitals being shut after doctors and nurses being exposed to the virus due to being ill-equipped, e.g. Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai. India has health resources which are highly constrained and healthcare workers getting infected could further worsen the situation.

Source : Bloomberg

Given the scale of the problem and a lack of quick-fix solutions, a team comprising IIT-Bombay students developed “COVID-19 PPE Tracker” to provide a platform to connect people willing to donate and people who require PPE. The team comprises MTech and PhD students from the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments. They have presented this project in Coronathon, a COVID-19 Online Hackathon organized by the founders of Wingify, Paras Chopra and Sparsh Gupta, and have received support from them. It was observed by the team that many universities, research laboratories, industries etc. are able and willing to contribute but fail to get a platform to fill the demand-supply gap. The platform helps to connect a PPE supplier to healthcare professionals/institutions within a 10 km radius. The team is contacting state governments and hospitals to keep track of PPE requirements. The team is also providing logistical support to ensure delivery of PPEs to frontline workers.

The team is continuously expanding its database of PPE suppliers and hospitals. The team requires infrastructure support to smoothen the logistics to ensure timely delivery. They need help from volunteers who can contact and verify the suppliers and the healthcare professionals who need them. The team also requires monetary donations and people can contribute funds through their site. The team’s ability to replicate its initial success is contingent on support from the wider community who can provide them with the required outreach. The tracker’s success could go a long way in solving the problem of the shortage of PPEs and ensuring our frontline workers don’t fight this pandemic defenceless.


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