Kampala — The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has certified six companies to make facemasks which government promised to give to all Ugandans aged six and above by June 4th.
The six certified companies and the approved compositions of the masks are; Lida Packaging Products Limited (100 per cent Polypropylene, four layers), Southern Range Nyanza Limited (Nytil) (a blend of 65 per cent polyester and 35 per cent cotton, two layers), Evergreen Safaris Limited (a blend of 65 per cent polyester and 35 per cent cotton), and Jude Color Solutions Limited (a blend of 65 per cent polyester and 35 per cent cotton, two layers). Others are Winfred Fashion designers Limited (a blend of 65 per cent polyester and 35 per cent cotton, two layers), Fine Spinners Limited (100 per cent knitted cotton, two layers).
According to the guidelines given by the Ministry of Health, face masks should be "preferably 100 per cent cotton, double layered with a pouch for a filter which can be polypropylene, tissue or toilet paper. It should be wide enough to cover the nose, mouth and the chin. The loops should not be too tight for comfort."
Unbs said what the Ministry of Health has picked out for the mask fabric composition is within the Ugandan standards, allaying fears that most of the certified companies preferred to use 65 per cent polyester and 35 per cent cotton in their fabric composition.
"The standard specifies the minimum requirement. It gives a number of recommendations, which allows for a variety of compositions. If you are meeting those, the masks can be used. It is not a one set of specification for every mask. It is not open to everything but should be within the standard," Ms Patricia Bagaine Ejalu, the deputy executive director Unbs, said.
"The manufacturers had muscled up capacity to produce 1.2 million masks per day and we are still looking for more companies. They will operate and be guided by others who have bigger capacity, " Dr Monica Musenero, the presidential adviser on Epidemiology, told Daily Monitor when the sampling testing began last month.
Ms Bagaine also told Daily Monitor yesterday that certification began before the President talked of the free masks.
"At least now there are certified companies that people can procure from. This is an emergency situation. It is not normal so we are trying to work as hard and as fast as we can," Ms Bagaine added.
"Our recommendation is that people should look out for masks made by certified companies. We cannot go around chasing people. Our priority is that the ones who can do the right job are doing it and people have the information so you go the right place," Ms Ejalu explained.