Watch: Wisynco responds to call from KPH
Wisynco Craftsman, Victor Henry demonstrates one aspect of the production process in the fabrication of PET Spacers.
Wisynco Group Limited has responded to a call from the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) through the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) to supply polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles to make medical spacers, also called holding chambers.
The spacers, which make it easier to coordinate breathing than traditional inhalers and nebulizers, are being used to aid the needs of increased respiratory patients due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Jamaica.
Though nebulizers are more commonly used for the treatment of asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD and other respiratory disorders or diseases, Senior Medical Officer (SMO) at the KPH, Dr Natalie Whylie shared that “There is recent medical evidence that indicates there is no difference with the treatment efficacy with using the spacer and a metered dose inhaler [MDI] versus nebulizing the patient.”
Dr Whylie commented that “The provision of modified PET bottles which are being used as spacers have allowed for the continued treatment of asthmatic and other patients with respiratory conditions at the hospital. The spacers have eliminated the need for nebulization of these patients and the potential exposure of the health care worker to aerosolised respiratory secretions.”
The SMO explained why spacers eliminate the risk of exposure to health care workers.
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“When patients are being nebulized, the masks that are put over the patients’ face has a container with medication. The medication is made into a mist that the patient inhales - and they are exhaling and inhaling at the same. So, as the nebulization is taking place, the health care worker who is in the vicinity is also exposed to aerosolized respiratory secretions that the patient exhales.” She added, “The spacer allows the medication to be delivered into the chamber of the spacer and then the person breathes in and they breathe out into the spacer,” said Dr Whylie.
Dr Whylie also confirmed that “Our plan is to give it [spacers] to every single person who comes into our emergency room that requires respiratory therapy. So we would give it to them [outpatients] and they would be able to take it home. For the inpatients, they will take it with them on the ward. So the nurses then are able to deliver the medication to the inpatients, and when they go home, they would go home with it.”
Wisynco was approached by the hospital based on the group’s access to PET bottles used for packaging its beverage products. Guided by specifications from Dr Whylie and other senior medical officials of SEHRA, Group Engineer and Special Projects Manager, Craig Clare and other team members at Wisynco have volunteered their time since late March to design and manufacture spacers in a bid to fill the needs of hospitals islandwide.
In response to the call from the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), Wisynco Group Ltd (WGL) is manufacturing approximately one hundred PET modified spacers daily, with a goal to supply 2000 for use islandwide.
Wisynco team members including Victor Henry, Shamar Stones and Javaughn Madden were some of the volunteers he commended.
According to Clare, “We are doing about a hundred a day and will manufacture 2,000 for use islandwide. So far, we have supplied KPH, Spanish Town Hospital and UHWI [University Hospital of the West Indies] with the intention of supplying anybody else that requests. The team here [WGL’s maintenance team and factory mechanics] are volunteering and putting in the extra hours to get them done for everybody [hospitals in need].”
“The Kingston Public Hospital is immensely grateful for the prompt response of Wisynco to this need,” added Dr Whylie.
Interestingly, Dr Whylie shared that another alternative to the medical spacers could have incorporated the use of styrofoam cups. However, since the recent ban on styrofoam products locally, that material was not available as an option.