COVID-19 & Why We Care

Engineering students gave a new purpose to a 3D printer by
producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for local health
professionals. Credit: Andrés Bello Catholic University/UN
Academic Impact

By Ramu Damodaram

Among the many compelling points made by Dr. Anthony Fauci in
our “Rethinking Health” webinar this week was the absolute
essentiality of global collaboration and transparency to contain
the pandemic with which we are faced.

It’s an imperative between, but beyond, States and
governments, which Secretary-General Guterres has affirmed, most
recently when he spoke of how we must reimagine the way nations
cooperate in a “networked multilateralism” where the United
Nations works with others more closely and effectively.

The primary logic of the Academic Impact has been precisely the
networks of scholarship and research that can underpin the
achievements and the promises of multilateralism.

But when we determined that logic, many of us saw it as inherent
to a gradual accommodative process, not one compelled by the
urgencies the past few months have laid bare.

What we can be proud of is the scale of adaptation, innovation
and reasoned experiment that our network displayed in addressing
the many dimensions of our global crisis.

Let’s look at a few instances.

New Giza University (Egypt), whose Dr Lamiaa
Mohsen we were privileged to welcome for our webinar, sent medical
convoys to nearby communities, and sanitized houses with
specialized equipment.

Students at Ahfad University for Women (Sudan)
produced hand sanitizers after scientifically testing different
combinations and formulas and then distributed them through local

The University of Pretoria (South Africa)
assessed nutritional needs of students from disadvantaged groups
while offering support to policymakers on children’s nutrition
and the pandemic’s impact on food security.

Across the Indian Ocean, Kristu Jayanti College
(India) undertook a community social survey to assess the impact of
the pandemic on disadvantaged communities to chart out a
multidimensional strategy to address and improve their

Western Sydney University (Australia)
implemented a program of transitioning medical students into the
hospital system as Assistants in Medicine, to meet the requirements
of individual health services during the pandemic.

And at De Monftort University (United Kingdom)
nursing graduates were fast-tracked to join the National Health
Service to provide vital support during the pandemic. On related
track, Rey Juan Carlos University (Spain) launched
an initiative to offer virtual health support via videoconferencing
or calling tools, for professionals and users working in nursing
homes, to provide assistance on health issues, including those on

If these initiatives took advantage of the skills and readiness
of students in the medical field, two other institutions co-opted
those in engineering departments to bring their own expertise to

Andrés Bello Catholic University (Venezuela)
launched a project to produce personal protective equipment (PPE)
for health professionals in three local public hospitals, with a 3D
printer handled by Engineering students.

And the Balochistan University of Information
Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences

(Pakistan), through a research team of the Control Automation &
Robotics Lab at the Faculty of Information and Technology, has
developed a low-cost ventilator product called BUITEMS Vent-1 for
treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Related is the venture by Lehigh University
(United States) where a research team has produced a device to
ensure, through the use of UV-C light, the sterilization and reuse
of N95 masks when new ones are unavailable.

These are only some of the examples of which we hear every day,
each of which attests to the logic of our mission. Many years ago,
a distinguished physician spoke of two things—-science and
opinion; “the former begets knowledge, the latter

Today we are proud of our members who, in reinforcing the former
over the latter each day, give life not only to that aphorism of
Hippocrates 2400 years ago, but to children, women and men

*This article originally appeared in the UN Academic
Weekly Newsletter

The post COVID-19 & Why
We Care
appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Ramu Damodaran is Chief, United Nations
Academic Impact*

The post COVID-19 & Why
We Care
appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
COVID-19 & Why We Care