Malang-based dentist wears trendy COVID-19 PPE

Healthcare workers are among the most vulnerable in the COVID-19 pandemic as they are in close contact with many people for long hours. Those who don’t have access to proper personal protective equipment (PPE) may even be more at risk.

The need for adequate PPE is not limited to healthcare workers who are directly treating or are in the proximity COVID-19 patients, but also to dentists. A Malang-based dentist, Dr. Nina Agustin, makes sure that she has her gear on to keep herself and everyone safe. She also doesn’t forget to…make it fashion.

Apart from Dr. Nina, other Indonesians are also showing their DIY spirit through their own inventive, improvised PPE.

Staying safe from COVID-19 in style

Indonesians' DIY PPE - Tweet
Image credit: @deddyhuang_

Dr. Nina’s pandemic fashion sense went viral in the Twitterverse when user @deddyhuang_, a man who claims to be her friend, posted a tweet that translates into: “My friend is a dentist, and she shared these photos. So she’s a Malang-based dentist who made her own Level 3 PPE. So cool, right? Though she’s working, she’s still fashionable.”

The post included several screenshots of Dr. Nina’s Instagram posts, in which she poses in her stylish PPE in what appears to be her own dental clinic.

Indonesians' DIY PPE - Dr Nina poses
Image credit: @itsneyna

In the photos, Dr. Nina is wearing a full suit, a face shield, goggles, a respirator, gloves, and boots. As @deddyhuang_ noted, she’s wearing Level 3 (or Level C) PPE according to the US Department of Health & Human Services’ standards.

As dentists are routinely exposed to aerosols produced by dental cleanings and other treatments that can potentially spread the coronavirus from an infected patient, full PPE is essential for their work during a pandemic.  

Indonesians' DIY PPE - Dentist
Image credit: @itsneyna

Dr. Nina accompanies her posts along with uplifting captions for her followers, highlighting the need for hope to tide through these difficult times.

Good vibes aside, DIY PPE reveals a bigger issue in Indonesia

Indonesians' DIY PPE - Child wearing water jug
Photo of a child wearing improvised PPE posted by Governor of East Java, Khofifah Indar Parawansa
Image credit: @KhofiahIP

The DIY spirit radiated by Dr. Nina is indeed a mood booster, but some noted that improvised PPE in the general population also reveals bigger, systemic issues. Governor of East Java, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, received lots of backlash from netizens when she shared a photo of a child wearing a face shield made of a plastic water jug on Twitter. 

“This photo is proof that preventing the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t have to be costly. Discipline and obeying protocols are enough.”

Some netizens deemed her comment tactless, and said that it shifted the blame to citizens. Citizens’ displays of creativity are indeed admirable, but reveal huge problems such as the lack of PPE available – especially among lower-income families. 

Indonesians' DIY PPE - Traffic controller
A voluntary traffic controller wears a water galon 
Image credit: detikHealth

Another example of a person being creative out of necessity is a voluntary traffic controller in Yogyakarta who was spotted wearing a large water jug over his head while directing motorcyclists and drivers. Seeing such innovative ideas are heartwarming, and maybe even entertaining, but it is crucial to remember that citizens cannot adhere to health protocols if the equipment and facilities aren’t equally available to all.

Staying safe during the pandemic

Dr. Nina’s stylish pandemic outfits and Indonesians’ efforts to make their own PPE out of whatever recyclable materials are at hand clearly remind us that the COVID-19 pandemic still poses a threat to all of us.

Let’s hope that more and more Indonesians will get the support they need to do their jobs and lead their daily lives safely.

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Cover image adapted from: detikHealth and  @itsneyna

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