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4 Ways this Peruvian University is Helping the Community in the Fight Against Coronavirus

4 Ways this Peruvian University is Helping the Community in the Fight Against Coronavirus main image

Sponsored by University of Lima

International travel is at the heart of higher education, with millions of students moving abroad every year to embark on their studies.

So when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30 this year, the higher education sector faced great pressures to ensure significant measures were in place to avoid the spread of the virus and keep both students and staff safe.

Since then we’ve seen campuses close their doors as face-to-face learning moves online, along with virtual graduation ceremonies and virtual open days happening with the help of innovative digital technologies. We’ve also seen a number of institutions carrying out their own lines of research on the ongoing outbreak.

Committed to the welfare of the community, the University of Lima in Peru has actively participated in a number of initiatives, involving different academic areas with the aim of joining forces in the fight against COVID-19. Let’s take a closer look at just some of the projects the university has undertaken… 

Creating thousands of face masks and medical prototypes for the local community

Worldwide, the use of face masks have been heavily advised in public spaces – and has even been made mandatory by some governments. As a result, there have been massive shortages where the general public have been unable to get hold of such masks.

To help with such shortages, the Center for Studies in Textile Innovation (Ceitex) at the University of Lima has had the material to manufacture 50,000 fabric face masks for the entire local community – abiding to the technical specifications set out by Peru’s Ministry of Health.

Made from textile material with an anti-microbial finish which eliminates and prevents the spread of such bacteria, the masks are non-toxic and are also considered harmless to the environment – although they should still be disposed of in a safe and contained manner.

It is also important to note that, for the protection against diseases caused by viruses, the face masks that should be used are those that comply with the requirements set out in the Peruvian Technical Standard (NTP) 329.200:2020, published by the National Quality Institute (INACAL).

What’s more, in April the Technological Innovation Center at the University of Lima was given the green light by Peru’s Minister of Health to create prototypes for stretchers and face masks with a replaceable filter in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This is collaborative work,” said Fabricio Paredes, Director of the CIT Fab Lab at the University of Lima. “Once stretcher plans are approved, stretchers will be available to society. In this manner, artisans and entrepreneurs will be able to manufacture their own stretchers according to the specifications, which will help to revive productivity and economic activities.”

Student entrepreneurs are teaching online classes to school children

Since April, the #EducaciónSinBarreras project developed by Municipality of Lima and the Superminds startup run by University of Lima students have been teaching mathematics and reading comprehension through online classes to sixth grade children across the region’s public schools.

The schoolchildren are able to receive personalized tutoring as well as strengthen their knowledge of digital resources and how they can best be used in order to help their learning.

A reading app for children that encourages fun learning at home

Child learning to read on tablet

Image credit: University of Lima

The Technology Learning Laboratory (IT Lab) at the University of Lima joined forces with the Scientific Research Institute (IDIC) to develop ‘Correpalabras’, the reading app which encourages young children to read more through fun and imaginative story-telling.

In charge of the project is Professor Néstor Martos and Professor Jorge Montalvo.

All you need is a cellphone which is best placed horizontally allowing the words to appear along the bottom of the screen which can be sped up, slowed down, paused and repeated according to their reading skills. Playful and colorful images also accompany the words and sentences on the screen.

‘Correpalabras’ is one of the winning projects of ¡Acción Ya! (Action Now!), an initiative run by Espacio Fundación Telefónica which focuses on various digital technologies that are being used during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Correpalabras is already available and can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store.

The development of a healthcare medical app

At the beginning of Peru’s national lockdown, three management students at the University of Lima, Gonzalo Núñez, Ángela Luna, and Fiorella Ordóñez, worked together to create MiVida, an app which offers useful medical information to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and connects individuals with healthcare professionals who can offer recommendations using easy to understand language.

“This startup emerged from the need to help people in this critical time we are living with health education and training, in line with the trend towards digital transformation,” said Gonzalo. “As soon as the first COVID-19 case was reported in Peru, we started the strategic plan of MiVida with the aim of making people adopt the best possible self-care practices.”

MiVida is currently on Facebook and Instagram, and it hopes to launch podcasts on Spotify and a YouTube channel soon, as well as its own virtual clinic.

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Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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