Putting a stop to COVID-19 crisis with “negative pressure room”
Over the past months, medical personnel who had to be at the center of the battle with COVID-19 has received an overwhelmed support from everyone but the real support that should help them fight effectively lies in adequate medical equipment with quality, particularly the negative pressure room. It has an isolation technique designed to prevent the air spread from inside to outside of the room. It is important to keep the air inside the room that is being used for treating patients infected with the virus as germs or droplets by sneezing or coughing from patients can be contaminated. The negative pressure room is, therefore, one of the key factors in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus. It also provides peace of mind for medical personnel who must take care of the patients directly.
In Thailand, there has not been enough hospitals that can take care of patients infected with coronavirus, due to the availability of medical personnel and equipment. Thammasat University Hospital is one of the hospitals that has been at the front and center during this COVID-19 crisis. The hospital not only takes care of the patients infected with coronavirus but also provides support for other hospitals, allowing them to transfer patients to the hospital. Banpu Public Company Limited, therefore, sees the urgent importance of providing help to Thammasat University Hospital. And that is the reason behind our determination to create a negative-pressure respiratory care unit and provide ventilators as well as other medical devices needed to handle with this infectious emerging disease.
We aim to help better the care for patients while giving moral support to medical personnel who perform their duties through this difficult crisis. Mr. Chanin Vongkusolkit, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Ms. Somruedee Chaimongkol, Chief Executive Officer of Banpu Public Company Limited, have agreed to provide this help immediately and now the Banpu Respiratory Care Unit or Banpu RCU has been opened and ready to operate.
Mr.Chanin Vongkusolkit disclosed that Banpu is committed to sustainable development and being a good corporate citizen. With this crisis that is happening to Thailand, it is important to find the way to help and solve the problem as fast as we possibly can. And as the company has closely monitored the situation of COVID-19, Banpu decided to collaborate with Mitr Phol Group to establish a THB 500 million fund under the name "Mitr Phol-Banpu Solidarity to Aid Thailand on COVID-19 Confrontation Endowment" where each company puts THB 250 million into the fund to help medical and public health organizations first because they have an important role and an urgent need to take care of patients and control this difficult situation.
Thammasat University Hospital stressed the importance of negative pressure room Professor Dr. Surapon Nitikraipot, Chairman of Thammasat University Hospital, shared that the negative pressure room has the ability to adjust the air pressure in the room to be negative or to have lower pressure than that outside the room. Air in the room that may be contaminated with infectious disease is, therefore, prevented from leaking to the outside of the room. Formerly, Thammasat University Hospital had 4 negative pressure rooms in use for treating patients with various infections such as tuberculosis. With this emerging disease occurred, from January to the present, the hospital has accepted 1,018 patients suspected of being infected with coronavirus while the number of patients who were really infected with coronavirus has risen to 31 cases. To have a full support by Banpu to build additional negative pressure rooms is very helpful for this situation, not only to separate COVID-19 patients properly but also allow the hospital to use normal rooms to treat patients with other diseases effectively. Ventilators are also needed for the care of COVID-19 patients who might have respiratory failure caused by pneumonia.
Not just a care unit for patients but valuable learning place for medical students
Apart from easing the COVID-19 crisis, Associate Professor Gasinee Witoonchart, Rector of Thammasat University, mentioned that the negative pressure unit given by Banpu would provide more benefits to medical students. It is a unit with high investment being used for patients mostly, especially patients with tuberculosis. After the COVID-19 crisis ends, all negative pressure rooms provided by Banpu would allow medical students in the university to learn more on this high-standard medical equipment. They will become an important force in public health in the future. In addition, it also enhances the capacity of the inpatient treatment laboratory in Thammasat University Hospital. And because of the current pollution situation and natural fluctuation, it is most likely that there will be more patients with lung, heart and respiratory diseases or the spread of other infectious emerging diseases that may occur in the future.
Banpu Public Company Limited has donated THB 30 million to Thammasat University Hospital to provide medical equipment including:
- Separated negative pressure rooms for patient care and prevent the spread of coronavirus with 10 beds
- Medical procedure negative pressure room with 1 bed
- 11 ventilators
- Other medical equipment including digital mobile x-ray machine, respiratory examination, exhaled carbon dioxide and oxygen saturation monitors, monitoring equipment for vital signs, automatic heart massage machine, airway examination equipment, and protective clothing against harmful particles from dust and germs
In addition to Thammasat University Hospital, Banpu also allocates budget from the fund to other hospitals and medical organizations in helping and supporting the equipment needed to prevent and control the spread of the COVID-19. Moreover, Banpu has prepared survival bags consisting of necessary items and has given them to agencies and people in various provinces nationwide. The Company has clearly realized that the wider impact is not limited to COVID-19 patients only. There are still many groups of people who have suffered from unemployment and economic downturn resulting in their lack of income and impact on their daily lives. Until 16 May 2020, Mitr Phol-Banpu Endowment have donated more than THB 200 million.
Banpu hopes that the support we have provided would help Thailand and Thai people in general to overcome this crisis very quickly.