The prospect of Covid-19 outbreak is a global pandemic is deepening worries over face masks and their availability due to its spike in demand everywhere. During the one day janata curfew on the 22nd of March, citizens clapped, clanged utensils to pay tribute to doctors and health workers who are fighting against Covid-19, but there is a requirement for more masks and medical equipment.
In order to meet the spike in demand and to cater to the plea of doctors and Meghalaya Medical Service Association for more masks , various women self-help groups came forward to help government in making masks.
Making Masks In Meghalaya
Darisha Kharwanlang, is one such story of a member of national skill training institute Tura, who set an example for many women in this hour of crisis. Kharwanlang went to the market to buy a face mask and realized the need of masks in Meghalaya, which is when along with her colleagues took up initiative to help. They decided to provide face masks and head covers for doctors from the fabric supplied by the district administration.
This was a big initiative undertaken by three women, but this did not deter them to take up the cause. Kharwanlang reached out to her students through Facebook.
“When we went to the market to buy masks, we were provided one mask each and people were looking for more masks which we were not getting initially.The idea to make masks came to our head, so that we could provide more masks for people in such hard times.” Said Darisha Kharwanlang.
“We also realised after an appeal from the Medical association to church members to volunteer for mass production of facial masks, to help in containing the spread of the virus. We decided to make to contribute to hospitals and therefore, made a call to all alumni of NSTI (National Skill Training Institute) on facebook.” Added Kharwanlang.
Help From The District Administration
With the number of positive coronavirus cases in India rising, face masks have become most important as they step out. As union and the state governments are scrambling to provide sufficient medical supplies and to prevent the spread of the Covid-19, one state is looking to bridge the gap and get more masks so that people can wear them.
The Meghalaya government turned to village self-help groups for mass production of face masks, an initiative taken through various district administrations who provided Kharwanlang and her team with fabric to make masks. Help is also provided through handloom and the district administration has assigned an officer to be in charge of mobilizing the production of masks.This helps to increase their supply of masks to sanitation workers and other frontline workers free of cost.
Beginning The Journey Of Making Masks
On 29th March Kharwanlang and her team started with whatever cotton fabric was available by watching tutorial videos online on YouTube. Do It Yourself (DIY) facial masks helped to make different types of masks. Three of my ex students came forward for help.
“I met officials in the district administration to help with fabric and some I purchased myself and then began making masks. I sought permission to get raw material and the DC (Deputy Commissioner) was very helpful as he already assigned an officer to be in charge of mobilizing the production of masks.I got some fabric from them which we sewed and returned to them. We following the instruction of the health ministry which says masks should be either double layered or three layered. In over one week we made 450-500 masks.” Adds Kharwanlang whose efforts are being appreciated by the Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma which was put up on the official Facebook page. Governments are taking emergency steps to make more face masks for front-line doctors and nurses dealing with the spread of the new coronavirus.
Although, Meghalaya has recorded few corona positive cases till date, the advance preparedness of the government is well appreciated. The state government through various district administrations has been mobilizing and involving people in its #FIGHTAGAINSTCORONA.