The collective is receiving support from dozens of medical professionals who are already using their masks on duty.
Rabat – Engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, and technicians have launched a solidarity initiative to provide hospitals with protective face shields and ventilator systems as part of the nationwide campaign to fight the outbreak of COVID-19 in Morocco.
The initiative, Engineering VS COVID-19 (Ingénierie VS COVID19MAROC), involves more than 200 people working to fill the need for protective equipment.
The group seeks to show solidarity with health officials and Moroccans amid the unpredictability of the novel coronavirus crisis.
Morocco, at the time of writing, has recorded 358 cases of COVID-19.
To mitigate the impacts of the outbreak, the collective established cells in cities including Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, and Marrakech to work on innovative ideas for the creation of protective masks.
The engineer and co-founder of the collective, Khalid Ezzemani, told Morocco World News the collective’s numbers are increasing rapidly.
“We receive calls from medical professionals and engineers on a daily basis who seek to join us.”
The 27-year-old innovator said Engineering VS COVID-19 has produced thousands of masks.
Although the masks are pending approval from government ministries, Ezzemani said some medical professionals have already started using their products.
The volunteers are seeking contributions from public institutions and local or regional contributors to help with production.
“We want to have [the masks] distributed for free. Those are for free and we seek nothing out of the initiative, but to express our solidarity and help to mitigate the impacts [on] our citizens.”
The initiative began immediately after Morocco announced a state of emergency, implementing a nationwide lockdown on March 20 to limit citizens’ movement.
In light of the measures, the collective promptly started working on the mo“We started developing the model to produce the protective masks,” in a prompt response to the state’s measures, Ezzemani explained.
The inventors use 3D printers, laser machines, fabric, and plexiglass to manufacture what they call “shield masks.”
Ezzemani told MWN the invention is primarily for health professionals, who are in dire need of protection due to the increased risks of contracting COVID-19 they face on a daily basis.
Engineering VS COVID-19 still needs resources, equipment, and professionals for more assistance to ensure the initiative’s success.
One of the co-founders of the initiative, Naim Bentaleb, told MWN that more products are in progress. The initiative seeks to reach thousands of products.
The group is also working on reverse engineering a respiratory system and its components to start 3D printing and other methods of production.
Morocco’s government is “doing its utmost”
When asked whether there is lack of encouragement for engineers and researchers, Ezzamani said he “would not say no, but the government is doing its utmost now and more.”
He noted the government’s quick measures to tackle the outbreak and treat confirmed cases.
The North African country deployed military and security staff to ensure the success of the state of emergency.
Spanish media outlet El Pais lauded Morocco’s efforts in a lengthy piece highlighting the country’s quick intervention.
El Pais said Morocco was at the top of the list of countries to quickly introduce tightened measures, including confinement.
El Pais went on to criticize China, where the virus first appeared in December 2019, for leaving public transportation operational in large cities in the early stages of the outbreak.