We came to Bosnia and Herzegovina at the right time
Interview with the company EGO Zlín spol. s.r.o., about their project and COVID-19 pandemic
“We came to Bosnia and Herzegovina at the right time – our solution will be tested during the current crisis and spread of COVID-19,“ says Soňa Zacharová, project manager at EGO Zlín, spol. s.r.o., an important manufacturer / supplier of complex biological protection systems, logistics and decontamination systems and devices for emergency medicine or long-term care. What do their solutions offer and how they approached the current crisis?
The transfer of innovative Czech practices and knowledge to other regions has been the main objective of the Czech-UNDP Partnership for SDGs from the beginning. Since the launch of the program in 2018, the Czech-UNDP Partnership for SDGs has supported the implementation of 31 projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Moldova. They have achieved significant results in the areas of natural resource management, environmental protection and economic development.
EGO Zlín, spol. s.r.o.’s project stands out because it is focused on the design of solutions and situations associated with highly contagious disease occurrences, including the possibility of safe transport and infected patient isolation. The main activity was to map local needs and capacities, design a suitable system of procedure, and to identify appropriate medical equipment. The project was launched just weeks before the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
You started the project just a few weeks before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. How did you approach the situation and what steps needed to be taken first?
The number one priority was to analyse the current system, describe its deficiencies, and eliminate risk areas.
Which of the project activities were partners most attracted to? What did they describe as the main need?
During the ongoing pandemic of the new coronavirus COVID-19, the main focus has been on personal protective equipment and respiratory support devices. Other measures that describe the activities necessary during a pandemic crisis, such as the isolation of a positive patient and his subsequent transport, are stated, but are not addressed. For this reason, too, the disease is spreading, affecting people in the area as well as medical and service staff. It´s a question: who will treat those in need if medical staff get sick or refuse to go to work due to fear of infection?
What do you see as necessary to be secured in the future?
The need for a systemic solution was clearly expressed during personal meetings with institution representatives. Among other things, we see the need to supply equipment for these crisis situations. The advantage of our solution is its complexity, where we can solve the immediate isolation of a highly-infectious patient literally anywhere (hospital, retirement home, airport, hotel, etc.) and ensure their safe transport to a specialized facility. The equipment operates on the vacuum principle in order to ensure isolation. These mobile insulators are easy to use, with low maintenance needs, affordability, and can be stored with little space requirements.
Have you established, or do you plan to cooperate in a partner country in the near future? Or do you intend to otherwise benefit from the contacts and experience gained within the project?
We intend to establish close cooperation with the partner country, to use our long-term international experience and assistance in a comprehensive solution in the preparation of a crisis pandemic plan, including recommendations of necessary preventive measures. The interest in our comprehensive solution was immediate and was reflected in the specific demand for individual products. It is now crucial for the country to allocate funds for the necessary equipment.
Part of our offer also involves cooperation on seminars, lectures and professional conferences. We regularly organize the event, “Disaster Medicine”, and in 2019, it was devoted to the topic “State preparedness for security threats”.
Within this project, we see the role of the local embassy of the Czech Republic as very important, as they helped to obtain necessary contacts and ensured further work with them.