Various sounds of whirring and beeping lead the way into a converted office in Istanbul.
Now filled with 3D printing machines and a packaging line, the space has been taken over by 3 Boyutlu Destek – meaning 3D support – in order to 3D print much-needed protective equipment for Turkey’s medical staff.
3 Boyutlu Destek is a collective production movement, which started as the coronavirus pandemic hit Turkey in March.
The movement now boasts more than 3,500 volunteers spread across 81 cities in the country and about 4,500 3D printers.
Their primary production is face-shields, printing more than 25,000 in one week and then distributing to more than 250 hospitals.
Healthcare professionals are able to apply to the 3 Boyutlu Destek website in order to receive deliveries of the plastic coverings.
This volunteered assistance is welcome as Turkey has the most COVID-19 infections in the Middle East with nearly 128,000 cases, as well as more than 3,400 deaths.
On April 22, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) announced 24 healthcare professionals died from coronavirus and 3,474 had been diagnosed with the corresponding disease, COVID-19. Of these cases, 2,005 were in Istanbul.
Immediate PPE need
The Turkish Medical Association has regularly denounced the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) not only in Turkey, but across the world.
“Personal protective equipment is one of the most vital items in the delivery of health services, and this equipment has to be supplied to healthcare workers regularly, in sufficient amounts and in proper forms,” TTB stated in one of their recent news releases.
“Shortage of PPE is an unacceptable situation, and failing to supply it is itself a risk factor.”
3 Boyutlu Destek co-founder Ilker Vardarli, an engineer by trade, said face-shields are the most demanded product from healthcare workers across Turkey, as they provide far more protection than regular cloth masks.
“When you are using a mask, you are only saving your mouth and nose, but when you are using a shield, you are saving your skin [and eyes]. When your hands go to your head, the face-shield protects these areas,” Vardarli explained.