Ghana to produce 3.6million face masks, other PPEs beginning Tuesday

Ghana is scheduled to manufacture millions of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to fill the shortage that has hit the country, beginning Tuesday, April 7, President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced.

As the coronavirus pandemic bites hard, countries across the globe have run out of protective equipment and Ghana has found a domestic solution to the challenge.

The President announced the intervention in his fifth address to the nation on COVID-19 which has killed five persons with a total of 214 cases recorded in the country.

With inadequate PPEs for health workers, the government has stepped in to empower local industries to produce kits and equipment for local use and possibly export to those in need.

“Domestic production of face masks, head covers, surgical scrubs and gowns will commence from Tuesday,” Mr Akufo-Addo noted on Sunday, April 5.” For example, three million, six hundred thousand face masks will be produced domestically, with an output of one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) per day”.

The President also acknowledged the local invention of devices and items which will help individuals from contracting the viral infection.

Worthy of mention were the invention of a solar-powered hand-washing sink by Jude Osei from Kumasi, and the ‘COVID-19 prevention electronic bucket’ made by Kelvin Owusu Dapaah and Richard Boateng, both students of Obuasi Senior High and Technical School.

“Necessity, indeed, is the mother of invention, as the Ghanaian sense of enterprise and innovation is beginning to be felt,” Mr Akufo-Addo applauded.

Meanwhile, the government has already procured 350,000 masks, 558,650 examination gloves, 1,000 reusable goggles, 20,000 cover-alls, 7,000 N-95 respirators, 500 waterproof gumboots, 2,000 reusable face shields, 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizers,10,000 100ml pieces of hand sanitizers, and 500 covers.

Mr Akufo-Addo said the items “have been sent to the regional health directorates, for onward distribution to the district health directorates for use by our health workers in all the districts”.

Countries such as the US have begun hoarding PPEs, prompting recipients of such imports to explore new avenues.

US-based N95 respirator manufacturing giant, 3M,  accused the Trump administration of ordering it to stop exporting medical-grade masks to Canada and Latin America.

The company said the directive from the US authorities has “significant humanitarian implications”.

The N95 masks, filters about 95% of the air and experts believe it offers better protection than any other masks.

With prices of surgical masks such as those produced in China expected to witness an increase, the stimulus for local production is timely, as Ghana’s coronavirus infections continue to increase with the tipping point yet to be determined.


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