A visit from the Prime Minister and a decrease in new hospitalisations
Last Wednesday (April 15th) we received a visit from a very special guest. The Prime Minister came to the university to see the AIRone. Due to the measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, many team members work from home. To ensure the whole team had the opportunity to be present at this special visit, a video conference was set up for the team members working from home. Prime Minister Rutte had taken the time to get to know the team members, discuss the urgency for ventilators in the Netherlands and other countries and answer questions from our students. To receive support from the government for our initiative has been extremely inspiring and motivating for all the students.
Friday evening (April 17th), Lucas and Josephine were guests in the Dutch television talk show “Op1” to talk about OperationAIR. A nice movie compilation was shown and Lucas and Josephine told the viewers about what we have accomplished the last few weeks and what’s next to come. The fragment (Dutch language) can be watched here.
Last week the impact of the measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in the Netherlands became noticeable. A decrease in new hospitalisations was seen on the Intensive Care Units in the Netherlands. It is good to see that the policy is yielding results. If this positive trend continues, the need for emergency ventilators will decrease. At the start of OperationAIR we had set the goal to produce 500 emergency ventilators for the Netherlands to contribute to possible shortages in the worst-case scenario. With the current decreasing trend in new hospitalisations and consultation from the ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, we expect that this amount is not required anymore. Therefore, we are going to produce less ventilators than we had in mind. At the moment, we plan to produce 80 emergency ventilators. These ventilators can be used as a buffer if a shortage occurs. Furthermore, producing 80 emergency ventilators allows us to go through the entire production process. Experiencing the entire process gives us the opportunity to be prepared to start production immediately when shortages do occur and gain insight into the procedure for the internalisation of the AIRone
As the urgency seems to diminish in the Netherlands, OperationAIR has the opportunity to contribute in other ways during the coronavirus pandemic. The shortage for ventilators is still present in other countries. At the start we had the goal to share our design publicly on the website for other countries to use. Now, potentially, the opportunity arises to take this a step further. We can, for example, offer active support to similar initiatives abroad or give advice on setting up a supply chain. At the moment, the team is drawing up an inventory of how to approach this optimally.