EL SALVADOR: Don Bosco University works with US Embassy to produce and distribute protective masks to hospitals
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco University is working collaboratively with the United States Embassy in El Salvador to provide aid and support to those working on the front lines in hospitals across the nation. Through the American Spaces program, Don Bosco University has created and produced 3D-printed protective masks for donation.
The U.S. Embassy donated two 3D printers for the project. The protective masks were printed with PET and PETG, plastic filaments used mainly for 3D printing due to its versatility and resistance. Close to 350 masks can be produced per week. The final manufacturing process includes cleaning, sanding, drilling and positioning of the PET plastic, which takes several days.
Recently, 100 masks were donated to the Rosales National Hospital, 100 to the Military Hospital, more than 200 to the National General Hospital of Pneumology and Family Medicine, and 75 to the Secretary of Innovation of El Salvador. More than 1,200 masks are expected to be delivered as part of the project to various hospitals across the country.
Raúl Arriaza is a member of a group of professionals and doctors who are promoting a campaign to collect protective material for the front-line staff of Rosales Hospital. He said, “Masks are highly necessary for the hospital system. In addition to protecting the mucous membranes of the face, they allow the person to receive less biological load.”
The director of the University of Don Bosco’s Energy Research Institute, Carlos Pacas, acknowledged the invaluable contribution this cooperation provides to the Salvadoran population. He noted, “We believe it is a project that benefits people, especially medical personnel. It also shows that the work we do with our partners allows the creation of projects in the service of society.”
David Cerritos, professor at the Energy Research Institute, added, “Participating in this project has been a very rewarding experience, which allows you to appreciate the joy of the people who receive the donation.”
Don Bosco University is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the country, particularly in the technical and technological sectors. The university has close to 6,000 students enrolled and maintains a strong link to the local employment sector through research, technology transfer programs, continuing education courses and consultancy services.
Degree programs are offered in engineering, social sciences, humanities, economics, technology and aeronautics, among others. The university is also the only teaching center in the country that has the accreditation of the International Society of Orthotics and Prosthetics.
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Central America, along with Honduras and Guatemala. In 2016, San Salvador was named the murder capital of the world, seeing more murders and violent crime than any other city. Gang violence is a leading cause of violence in the country, and it’s estimated that some 60,000 young people have gang affiliation. Gang involvement often offers a sense of belonging and family that counters the lack of education and employment opportunities offered in the country.
Crime is often associated with poverty and close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in El Salvador are confronted not only with poverty but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education in El Salvador is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15 to 24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.
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Salesian Missions – El Salvador
World Bank – El Salvador