IIT Madras, Chengalpattu Medical College develop 'Doffing Unit' for healthcare workers to safely remove their PPEs

‘Donning’ is the procedure of assembling PPE on the healthcare providers and ‘doffing’ is the procedure for removal of PPE
Healthcare workers
Healthcare workers

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras Civil Engineering Department collaborated with Chengalpattu Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) in Tamil Nadu to design and develop a ‘Doffing Unit’ to enable healthcare professionals to safely and effectively remove their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

This project was undertaken with financial support from corporates under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). ‘Donning’ is the procedure of assembling PPE on the healthcare providers and ‘doffing’ is the procedure for removal of PPE. Such procedures will have to adhere to certain standard protocols to prevent of further spread of infections.

It is therefore essential to have donning and doffing Units for PPEs in hospitals providing treatment for COVID-19 patients. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set standards for PPE, and procedures to be followed for donning and doffing PPE.  In resource-constrained settings, innovative designs are needed for rapid deployment of such units.

Prof. Koshy Varghese and Prof. Arul Jayachandran, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, in collaboration with the Innovation team of Chengalpattu Government Medical College and Hospital, and a multi-disciplinary team of professionals have successfully designed, fabricated and installed the Doffing Unit.

The entire collaboration took place remotely during the lockdown period during the month of April 2020. This collaboration required on-line discussions between IIT Madras, CMCH, Public Works Department, Nandini and Arunima Architects (Akarma Designs), Kavin Kumar of IIT Madras Start-up EPMCR and Fabricators, Steel Tech and MetalScope Pvt Ltd, Puducherry.

Several versions of the design were generated and reviewed before the team finalised the version for fabrication. District officials also coordinated with the team to enable the fabrication and safe transportation of the Unit to operational location at CMCH. The units were commissioned by Chengalpattu District Collector John Louis on May 6 and have proven to be safe and effective and meet a critical need at CMCH during the current pandemic.

Providing feedback about the Doffing units, Vijayalakshmi, a staff nurse at the COVID-19 Ward, Chengalpattu Medical College and Hospital, said, “I felt safe that I am not carrying infection to my home and community.” To enable continued refinement as well as dissemination of unit design, the Centre for Urbanization, Building and Environment (CUBE) will work with Governments and Hospitals to design and advise on deployment of doffing units based on specific needs. CUBE is a Centre of Excellence established at IIT Madras jointly with the Government of Tamil Nadu.

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