The intubation boxes being sent to the hospital. Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The desire to assist frontliners performing intubation procedures for Covid-19 patients has prompted a surgeon to create a ‘protective intubation box’, with the help of various segments of the public, for free use at government health facilities across the country. 

Assembled in just one hour and made from transparent acrylic plastic, the boxes are capable of serving as a shield for frontliners while undertaking the procedure, said consultant surgeon Prof Dr Firdaus Hariri, 42.

“Although our frontliners use personal protective equipment (PPE) while performing the risky procedure, this box will serve as additional protection against ‘droplets’ from patients and reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

“The holes in the box enables a frontliner’s hands to be extended through the box, and at the same time, does not restrict their hand movement while undertaking the procedure,” he explained to Bernama recently, adding that a similar creation he also produced is a sampling shield for use by frontliners when taking swabs from patients.

The consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), said the idea behind his creations started when he heard about the box through a social media account of a Taiwanese doctor.  

Taken with the idea, Dr Firdaus got in touch with the doctor, seeking permission to use all data connected with the design of the box. Upon receiving permission, he relied on the assistance of two friends to come up with 3D (three-dimensional) designs in an architect’s studio and this resulted in the creation of several prototypes of the boxes which were then sent to UMMC and Hospital Selayang.

“We received positive responses and input on improving the box. We also received a great response on social media from people of various backgrounds, as well as companies, who have contributed to the production of the box,” he said.

So far, and as a result of cooperation with non-governmental organisation, Old Putera Association (OPA), a total of 249 protective intubation boxes and sampling shields have been produced and distributed to hospitals, district health centres and health clinics in Peninsular Malaysia. In addition, 85 boxes and 72 shields, along with personal protective equipment (PPE), were transported to Sarawak yesterday with the assistance of the Malaysian army and air force.

The cost of producing the boxes ranges from RM150 to RM200 per unit, and is dependent on the supply and price of acrylic plastic which varies according to location.

“But cost is not an issue as this is a service to the nation from all of us providing assistance. The contributions received from companies and individuals have enabled us to provide these boxes free of charge to the health facilities,” the surgeon said.

All who wish to support this initiative can visit the Old Putera Association’s Facebook page for more information. – Bernama