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PPE testing for local council reaches 150,000 milestone

12 May 2020

A University academic has helped Manchester City Council (MCC) coordinate and test thousands of pieces Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for key workers in the city

Obuks Ejohwomu

MCC has received approximately 150,000 pieces of PPE via companies and donations from across city. But before the equipment could be distributed, the Council needed to check that it was suitable for use by key workers.

This meant testing samples of pieces equipment in an extremely short space of time so that the PPE could be delivered to those on the frontline as quickly as possible. That is when Council contacted the University and, more specifically, Dr Obuks Ejohwomu who is Director Commercial Project Management in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

From the Council’s speculative email on the evening of Easter Saturday, Dr Ejohwomu, who is a Lecturer in Project Management, was able to organise video conferences, e-mails, physical testing and a wrap-up video conference call in under eight calendar days.

Dr Ejohwomu led a team of experts from across Manchester, Coventry and Brighton universities to achieve the rapid turnaround. The teams worked over the Easter Bank Holiday to deliver comparative tests using existing equipment and modified test rigs to help understand the 150,000 uncertified PPEs the Council had received.

Dr Ejohwomu said: “The success of this project has in no small part been due to the deployment of invaluable project management knowledge that is most suitable for managing unknown unknowns at a time of disruption. This has contributed to MCC’s ability to correctly and suitably equip workers across a spectrum of roles with the masks they require.”

Barney Harle, Head of Major Projects at Manchester City Council, said: “I have never been prouder to work with a group of academic contacts than on this occasion. The way in which Obuks brought together a quality team of enlightened and enthusiastic fellow researchers and practitioners was outstanding.”

Professor Martin Schröder, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, added: “I’m delighted our Faculty was able to help the City Council and our health workers. Many congratulations and thanks to Obuks. I am so proud of the staff in the Faculty and Obuks in particular. He is a star!”