Executive Assistant Gina Halwani, a 10-year ArgoGlobal employee in London, is a keen sewer who has been helping during the pandemic as part of a nationwide group of volunteers that make personal protective equipment (PPE) for the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS).
How did you get into making PPE for the NHS?
My elderly mother lives with us, and I know a few people with medical conditions who have to visit hospital regularly, so I was worried about them venturing out.
I followed a couple of Instagram pages to pick up some tips on how to make masks and came across a lady I used to work with. She was making scrubs for the NHS through a voluntary organization called For The Love Of Scrubs – started by a nurse who wanted to combat the increasing shortage of scrubs for frontline workers looking after COVID-19 patients.
I offered my services to my local hospital in Hertfordshire, who had just started a branch. I completed the relevant application to declare that everyone in my household was free of COVID-19 and that I could adhere to the stringent safety procedures for collecting, manufacturing and delivering the scrubs.
Literally within half an hour, a bag had been dropped outside my house containing 10 sets of scrubs, cut out and ready to be stitched together. It was a bit daunting at first – I’ve done lots of sewing, but the scrubs obviously need to be hard wearing and are washed at very high temperatures, so there can be no loose threads, and every seam and panel has to be robust and secure.
I’ve now made 24 sets of scrubs, plus scrub bags, scrub hats and ear protectors. In our little group, we’ve made 1,053 sets and we have now fulfilled all the NHS orders that were really desperate for frontline medical teams. We don’t want to stop though, so we are now going to support care homes and local GP clinics, so they are properly equipped when they start admitting patients again.