Standards body, Uganda National Bureau of Standards has cleared six companies to start manufacturing non-medical facemasks in the country.
“The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has certified six (6) companies to produce non-medical facemasks as of May,29 2020.This is in line with the UNBS mandate of consumer protection, aimed at protecting Ugandans from buying substandard non-medical facemasks which could be harmful to their health, in the wake of COVID-19,”UNBS said in a statement.
The six companies include Lida Packaging Products Ltd, Southern range Nyanza Limited(Nytil), Evergreen Safaries limited, Jude color solutions Limited, Winfred Fashion designers Limited and Fine Spinners Limited.
The standards body also revealed that they offering free non-medical facemask standards to aid certification of facemask manufacturers and mass production of non-medical facemasks that meet the national quality standards.
“So far, 55 companies have applied for certification, thus, the number of companies certified to manufacture non-medical facemasks is expected to increase. UNBS will therefore issue updated lists periodically,” UNBS said.
Early this week, the standards body issued standards to be met by importers of facemask into the country.
UNBS said that non- medical facemasks should have specification US 2552:2020 whereas the medical facemasks should have requirements and test methods including US EN 14683:2019 + AC:2019.
President Museveni earlier this month pegged the lifting of the countrywide lockdown on the mandatory wearing of facemasks by everyone.
“Put your mask on when in public to avoid contaminating the air and spreading disease to others, especially now that we are dealing with a disease that spreads so fast. Even when you are speaking, leave the mask on because if you remove and speak, you are infecting the air. Also, the hands you are fidgeting with while removing the mask can bring the infection,” the president said.
The Ministry of Health last week issued guidelines to be followed while wearing facemasks.
“The medical masks include; N95, KN95 and surgical masks whereas the non-medical masks are made out of fabric (cloth). Medical masks should be preserved for health workers in health facilities and are not reusable. Since it is used in a hospital environment, it is highly contaminated by various infectious organisms and its reuse is risky,” the Minister for Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said.
“The community is encouraged to use non-medical masks (masks made out of fabrics e.g. cotton masks.”
The Minister explained the non-medical mask is a two layer cotton mask with a filter material like paper towel or coffee filter or polypropylene (the material often used for non-plastic shopping bags placed between the 2 layers to improve the mask).