Minskers unite to help medics

Two dozen protective visors were sent to Chashniki and Haradok hospitals the other day. Volunteers of the Minsk Hackerspace send protective equipment to medics daily.

“We asked our medics — some have protective visors, but construction ones. They buy them by the piece, they are very expensive, well, expensive like tens of rubles. And we thought: we can do the same in a hackerspace on our own,” says Flop Butylkin of the Minsk Hackerspace.

Volunteers have already made about two thousand masks in less than a week. Orders have already been delivered to more than 90 medical facilities across the country.

“The guys found designs on the Internet that can be printed on a 3D printer. This is the kind of visor to put on and get a ready-made protective face visor,” says the volunteer.

Many volunteers with 3D printers quickly responded. They bring the printed details here for assembly. The second part of the visor is cut out with a laser. The first batch of such masks was delivered to hospitals on April 1st.

“Word of mouth. Initially, I asked around my hospital, among my friends, classmates, with those with whom I worked in an ambulance as a student,” said Katsiaryna Merzhinskas, a resuscitation specialist and one of the authors of the idea of the visor design.

Kastiaryna Bay sends orders to hospitals. She is a programmer by background, previously she tried to stick to self-isolation regime. But now she comes to the Hackerspace at 11 o’clock every day.

“We assemble them and immediately pack and hand over to get everything to our medics as quickly as possible. And we finish at approximately 11:00 p.m.. The first day we finished work at 1:00 a.m.,” says the volunteer.

Volunteers also urge Belarusians to bring them diving masks. They are adapted to work in medical institutions. The engineer also made another model of visor — a simplified one. It takes less time to produce, because nothing needs to be printed on a 3D printer. And it is necessary to put together three parts and to insert an elastic band in a ready visor.

Now volunteers develop new models of protection gear for medics. And they are looking for helpers: for example, for making protective suits. Among the volunteers are employees of one of the capital’s ateliers. They’ve taken the measurements off existing suits and are now sewing them. In three days, they have already made a few dozen free overalls.

“I don’t think it’ll do us any bad if we help the doctors. Someday we’ll have to go to them for help, too. If we help them, it will be nice to save them from infection,” says Zhanna, the seamstress.

The cloth for overalls was purchased by volunteers from the Minsk Hackerspace for donations. You can join the volunteers from home if you have a typewriter and sewing skills. Contact Minsk Hackerspace through a special form on the website. There you can offer other help as well. Medics are asked to fill out a special form.

Nasta Kakhanovich, Belsat

Photo: Iryna Arakhouskaya