Pictured in Dalkey, Co. Dublin is Ciara Donlon, CEO & founder, THEYA Healthcare with models Lucy Archbold and Conor Barry wearing the THEYA bamboo fibre protective face masks.
(Credit: Ian McDevitt)
THEYA Healthcare has announced the launch of its unique reusable, washable, bamboo fibre, naturally antibacterial and EU tested and approved (EU Standard CWA17553), protective face masks.
THEYA Healthcare which is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD), manufactures health and wellbeing garments, including post-surgery medical garments.
The unique snood design, washable and reusable, bamboo fibre protective face mask by THEYA is effective in blocking nasal and oral droplets, as well as in filtering out pollen, and bacterial particles.
Protection against the spread of such droplets become particularly important when we exercise, studies show that our breathing rates can double or even quadruple when exercising, sending out higher numbers of potentially infectious respiratory droplets.
The masks have been tested to EU standard (EU Standard CWA17553) for Bacterial Filtration Efficiency, 78%.
Ciara Donlon, CEO, and founder, THEYA Healthcare said, “When this pandemic struck our lives here in Ireland, I wanted to help in whatever way I could. I decided to utilise my knowledge of the amazing qualities of bamboo fabric to design a reusable mask that was not only sustainable, comfortable and highly effective but was also kind to the skin as well as the planet. I designed a snood mask that can be worn loosely around the neck, to be popped over your nose and mouth in situations where social distancing is difficult and or unpredictable.”
“In March of this year we at THEYA Healthcare recognised, that our unique fabric and design process has potential to help many more people. As well as extending our post-surgery range to include protective reusable masks, we are currently developing our range of garments to include additional lines including products for ostomates, which will have a positive impact on health and wellbeing around the world,” Ms. Donlon added.
THEYA Healthcare pivoted during the COVID-19 crisis to source and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to international customers as well as the HSE and the Department of Defence following engagement with Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland is supporting companies to pivot to meet the new demand levels for PPE and other lifesaving equipment as a result of COVID-19.
It was during this time that all breast checks and cancer screening and operations ceased leaving the THEYA Healthcare team with additional work capacity and providing Ciara Donlon with the inspiration to create a protective face mask made almost entirely from the wonder fabric bamboo.
Ciara Donlon has also now written to Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Finance, asking for masks to be included as a qualifying medical expense in the health expenses tax relief scheme.
She said, “As face masks are now mandatory on public transport and are with us for the foreseeable future, helping us to carry on with our daily lives safely, the cost of these masks is a completely unforeseen and never before necessary expense which will cost us all on an ongoing basis, at least until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus.”
“Our post-surgery customers are particularly vulnerable to illness and have to burden so many other costs during their treatment that this cost on top, may result in a lack of compliance based on lack of finances to ensure a regular, fresh supply of protective face masks.”
“The average cost to the Irish consumer who is going about their daily business and using public transport for example, wearing the THEYA reusable, bamboo fibre, protective face mask every day would be approx. €365 per annum or €1 per day including VAT. This cost could be substantially higher for example if someone chooses to wear single use disposable masks which on average can cost the wearer for the same supply, €620 per annum or €1.70 per day including VAT at 23%.”
She continued, “In my opinion, the Irish government and our public health advisors have done a great job of taking care of us throughout this public health crisis, the COVID19 payments have meant that no one was left without and the subsidies for small businesses is also a forward looking initiative. However, everybody is going to be at a loss financially and a simple measure such as the 20% tax rebate on the costs of masks that I am suggesting could mean some relief and incentive to purchase and wear masks in the settings recommended.”
THEYA Healthcare is also in talks with some of the country’s biggest employers and state agencies about providing them with back to work packs for their staff.
The company which has raised just under €3 million in investment closed its latest round during the COVID-19 crisis. The latest investors are The University of Vermont’s Health Network venture arm. This is an important strategic partnership for THEYA Healthcare in the US as operations expand into this market over the next two years.
The unique reusable, bamboo fibre protective face masks by THEYA can be ordered online on www.theyahealthcare.com.
THEYA Healthcare is an Irish company and is a member of Guaranteed Irish.
Earlier this year Ciara Donlon was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Irish Women of the Year Awards. In 2017 she was named Laureate for Europe in the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards and was an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalist in the emerging entrepreneur category.