In any emergency, the best response is local. However, before you stand up a local manufacturing response in your community, find out how Open Source Medical Supplies can help and what considerations you should take before jumping in.

Our Shared Mission And Priorities

The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has been classified as a pandemic as it continues to spread globally in an exponential fashion. Significant shortages of necessary medical equipment and supplies are occurring as the demand for these items increases and interruptions in the global supply chain increase.  

Fundamental supplies facing shortages include personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, surgical masks, face shields, respirators, gowns, and disinfectant, as well as the equipment required to treat critically ill patients, such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators. The lack of supplies poses a threat to both patients suffering from COVID-19 and the healthcare and social service workers treating them. Needs range from hospitals requiring hundreds of thousands of items per day, to rural clinics in need of basics, to vulnerable individual community members and essential workers.

Open Source Medical Supplies (OSMS) urges makers, crafters and professional fabricators alike to utilize their production capabilities to produce the supplies and equipment so desperately needed in their communities, in the global fight against COVID-19.

Culture and Approach

As we all work together to tackle COVID-19, there is a need for an open-minded, thoughtful and collaborative response. From our experience, the best teams function by embracing a culture where:

Auro Nakatani shares the selfie spotlight with some
of his colleagues at the Curitiba FabLab in Brazil.
  • Self care is a priority. A core tenant of our work is rooted in the belief that you must first, care for yourself, then care for your family and loved ones, and then try to help others. It is key to prioritize personal care and safety so the important work you are doing can continue. 
  • There is a bias towards action (do-ocracy”). Those who take initiative to do work for the community can decide how they do that work. If any community members hold serious concerns, they can start a proposal to halt what someone is doing.
  • Local insight is respected. To best address the needs of your community, start by having a conversation with the people dealing directly with the realities of COVID-19. Please remember that your local community’s needs should always take precedence over any generalized guidance we can give you.
  • Inclusiveness is required. Set a tone for collaboration and increased participation. Stop and spend a moment to consider how to onboard, orient and empower new members of your team before it grows too large. See Resource Links for one Local Response group’s onboarding doc. If you must exclude people, exclude them because they are actively dangerous to the community, or are impeding efforts to help.
  • Resourcefulness is abundant. There are many possible methods to solve for this gap in supplies. Leverage personal networks. Look to identify paths of least resistance. Look for allies with passion. Be open to the unorthodox.

OSMS Resources

A view of the global production dashboard from OSMS.

Stay abreast of OSMS progress by joining the OSCMS Facebook Group and following us on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube:




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What to Consider

Designs & Regulations for Makers in Emergencies