As the fight against COVID-19 presses ahead, many healthcare workers, especially those on the front lines, are being pushed to their limits and beyond to ensure our health and safety. To help doctors and nurses combat the virus, SEMI Taiwan mobilized six leading Taiwan semiconductor companies last month to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) designed for industrial operation to medical staff. The gear included powered air purifying respirators (PAPR), half facepiece respirators, head tops, protective coveralls, and air filter canisters.
On behalf of the semiconductor industry, SEMI Taiwan worked closely with industry leaders and the government to deploy the direly needed resources to support the domestic medical community. The Taiwan Association of Medical Technologists accepted the donations in the ceremony attended by Taiwan CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang. The largesse is the result of public-private partnership to provide medical supplies to 35 hospitals and medical laboratories across Taiwan.
TSMC Charity Foundation responded with PPE giveaways in March in a first wave of protective equipment donations to medical personnel. Before long, Vanguard International Semiconductor Corporation (VIS), Macronix, Micron, United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), and 3M Taiwan also answered the call for more medical equipment for COVID-19 frontliners.
Extending the Taiwan semiconductor industry’s rich tradition of making charitable contributions in the region, including financial assistance for emergency relief efforts, the companies donated more than 1,000 pieces of PPE after balancing the giveaway with inventory needs in their fabs. Fab workers responsible for machinery, raw materials, and other goods and gear used in semiconductor manufacturing wear the protective devices. One piece of equipment, powered air purifying respirators (PAPR), features a battery-powered that sends filtered air flowing into a hood or head top covering the wearer’s head or face to protect against respiratory hazards. In healthcare, PAPRs protect medical staff as they test blood and tissue samples for traces of COVID-19.
Medical facilities across Taiwan quickly depleted PPE supplies after the rapid response to the January outbreak by healthcare providers across the region led to quick containment. The PPE donations were critical in minimizing exposure risks to medical staff. The chip industry’s protective clothing and equipment offered another benefit: Medical technologists found the gear – designed to be worn over long periods in semiconductor manufacturing facilities – comfortable as they worked marathon shifts early in the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Coronavirus testing requires a much higher level of protection than is needed in many healthcare settings,” said Chuang Jen-hsiang, the Deputy Director for the Taiwanese Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the spokesperson of Taiwan Central Epidemic Command Center. “Medical technologists must work in a poorly ventilated labs for more than eight hours a day, causing sweating and damp heat. The high-performance PPEs provided by the industry help healthcare workers breathe more naturally without wearing a mask while greatly reducing infection risk in hot, humid environments.”
For their COVID-19 response, Taiwan’s government and well-trained medical workers drew lessons from the SARS outbreak in 2003 to quickly activate emergency management structures to fend off the emerging threat – one that put the Taiwan semiconductor industry and its round-the-clock operations at risk.
“Taiwan’s swift response to the COVID-19 was vital in preserving the business continuity that is the lifeblood of the semiconductor manufacturing,” said Terry Tsao, Global Chief Marketing Officer and President of SEMI Taiwan. “We are honored to do our part to support the heroes of this fight – the medical technologists on the front lines – as an expression of our great respect and gratitude for their extraordinary work.”
SEMI Taiwan has long partnered with TSMC Charity Foundation to care for people in need, drive positive environmental and social changes, and support emergency aid in Taiwan. The goal our joint corporate social responsibility efforts is to warm the hearts of our people and build a better society.
Irene Huang is a public relations and marketing specialist at SEMI Taiwan.