Maltese Engineers complement work of front-liners and authorities in fight against COVID-19

As of early 2020, the world, and indeed Malta, has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic, with an element of unsatisfactory surprise, one must say. Our country has now clocked two and a half months of welcomed strict measures, which are now cautiously being eased.

Our brave professionals and citizens have risen to the call to control the spread of the virus, the former with their incessant work and the latter with their cooperation. The key roles that have deservingly taken the central spotlight, due to the life-saving nature of their work, are healthcare professionals and any staff supporting healthcare and its institutions. The Chamber of Engineers has been recognised these key professionals and keeps supporting their courageous activity, in such a situation.

The healthcare sector remains efficient and effective only with the aid of a network of supporting sectors and professionals. Emphasis is being made on the complementary role, and often ‘behind the scenes’ work, of our engineers. Although not at the front lines, these engineers are working several sectors which are critical to support the upkeep of life as we know it, especially in such difficult times.

The Chamber of Engineers has maintained communication with engineers working in the health care sector, especially in Mater Dei Hospital (MDH), where it kept itself abreast with the contribution of engineers there. The Chamber satisfactorily notes the fundamental role of the Engineering Department at MDH, who were have responded efficiently to the newer needs of the hospital and have silently turned it into an appropriate COVID-19 response hospital.  The Biomedical Engineering Team at MDH has also tirelessly contributed to the COVID-19 crisis. Engineers are also playing a fundamental role at the Central Procurement & Supplies Unit (CPSU) who have seen abrupt spikes in the demand for medical equipment and services. Here they have delivered to meet the demands, whilst keeping with the requested specifications.

Resource supply and management, such as energy and water, are essential for human livelihood. These sectors also needed to adjust to the COVID-19 situation to ensure the security of the utility supply. The Chamber acknowledges the work of engineers and colleagues in contingency planning for the energy service providers, such as Enemalta. These preparations have ensured that all front-liners, and the now more utility-demanding households, are provided with secure electrical supply. The Chamber equally acknowledges those working in the water services sector, also ensuring that we have a continuous supply of freshwater for our daily use, especially in considering an increased demand on water for more intensive hygiene practices.

The Chamber also appreciates those engineers and staff working in the telecommunications sector who guarantee that we are still able to function as a community through communication channels. Virtual connectivity has nowadays become part and parcel of our lives and this reality became more of a necessity during these times of physical distancing. Hence, telecommunications demands have increased significantly, and these sectors have supported supply with their efforts and aided communication between family members, providing more comfort to vulnerable people and those quarantined.

The Chamber also positively notes several instances where our cohorts have risen to the occasion to support the health sector and disciplined corps in their commitment towards the country, to overcome this difficult situation. Such examples which we have seen are: cases where manufacturing enterprises have modified their production to focus on providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and engineering researchers who have designed and built a disinfecting unit for respirators. One appreciates that there are many other instances where engineers are making a difference in society, and especially contributing to the COVID19 response. These engineers also deserve recognition.

Engineers are encouraged to be catalysts of innovation and remain guardians of quality and integrity within society. As a Chamber, we never tire to reiterate that any professional is defined by their actions within the social environment.

Malta, together with the rest of the world, is facing challenges both on a social and economic level. The engineering community, needs to resort to the essence of our code of ethics, put aside our personal needs, and offer our best knowledge to serve society. The Code of Ethics is entrenched in the Engineering Profession Act, Chapter 321 of the Laws of Malta.

As the Chamber of Engineers, we commend all engineers who are in some way involved in the current scenario and acknowledges, with gratitude, the fact that those involved are making us proud to be called engineers.

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