Companies provide help to tackle coronavirus in the Netherlands

19 May 2020

Across industries, companies are identifying how they can make a difference in the battle against coronavirus in the Netherlands. Dutch and foreign organizations are taking a broad range of initiatives, once again emphasizing the collaborative approach of the Dutch Life Sciences & Health sector.

Creative solutions for protection from coronavirus

Disinfectant, hand sanitizer and facemasks are in high demand – and in short supply – for protection against coronavirus. Not only by the general public but especially by health care professionals working in the front lines with patients. Several companies are stepping up the challenge to make new products utilized in the fight against coronavirus. For example, chemical company DSM is making 130,000 liters of disinfectant for hospitals. Shell is donating 2.5 million liters of isopropylalcohol (IPA), a compound which is used to make hand sanitizer, and is ramping up production of IPA at its plant in Rotterdam.

Providing support

Companies large and small are supplying facemasks, from mega batches produced overseas to smaller local-made lots. Chinese telecom company Huawei, which has several operations in the Netherlands, offered aid in the form of 800,000 facemasks from China. The masks are being dispatched to the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam as well as other hospitals in the Netherlands. More local initiatives are also taking form. For example, shoemaker Andy Lingbeek in the town of Winschoten is making hundreds of facemasks for local home healthcare providers.

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Organizations shift focus to face coronavirus

As hospitals in the Netherlands are expanding capacity for the treatment of patients, they require extra space and ventilators for their intensive care units. Several organizations have answered the new demand by intensifying or even shifting their focus to help in the battle against coronavirus in the Netherlands. There is an evident shift in service focus at Dutch hotel chains Fletcher and Van der Valk. The hotels are supporting hospitals by providing extra capacity. The hotels offer their rooms to coronavirus patients who do not require extensive hospital care, but are too ill to remain home.

Industry stepping up to create extra ventilators

At the same time global medical technology giant Philips is highly ramping up the production of ventilators, and 30 students at the Delft University of Technology have started Operation Air (Assist in Respiration) to make up to 500 basic respirators. Demcon, a specialized manufacturer of core components for ventilators in Enschede, is now aiming to manufacture complete ventilators. The firm aims to produce up to 500 in April. Finally, FreeBreathing from Venlo, has announced another initiative by introducing ‘‘VentilatorPAL’, a simple ventilator made by an open-source community.

Private helps public

All these initiatives show how the industry helps the public sector in necessary times. Private medical clinics in the Netherlands are also making personnel, protective materials, and rooms available to hospitals that need them. Bram ten Harmsel, of the Organization for Independent Clinics (ZKN, in Dutch) stated: ‘If we think creatively together, then we are able to achieve great things. At the moment we are providing only urgent care. As a result, we have time and personnel free to assist.’ Jaco Donselaar of private clinic Equipe Zorgbedrijven added. ‘We have decided to donate our medical supplies to hospitals that need them the most. Our knowledgeable personnel and facilities are also at their disposal. Let’s look together how we can utilize everything to maximum efficiency.”

Source: Invest in Holland